Crumble bars a great way to serve fresh fruit
Summertime blesses us with a bounty of fresh fruits. Whether selected from the plethora of choices at the local farmer’s market, featured specials from the grocery store, or plucked from the convenience of our own backyard, the season offers a rainbow of delicious options to choose from.
My favorite way to enjoy the fleeting sweetness is simply: a cascade of sliced strawberries atop a mound of vanilla ice cream, plump blackberries mixed into morning yogurt and granola, a pile of dark cherries in a white porcelain bowl. Sometimes, however, the occasion calls for something a little … more.
This recipe for crumble bars is both easy and yummy. Summertime is no time for fussiness; the recipe makes enough to serve a crowd and accommodates a variety of fruits. I’ve made it with blueberries and with strawberries so far, both times with success; the blueberries were left whole and broke down into a lovely jam-like filling, while the strawberries were sliced and retained a slightly more chunky texture. Once they ripen, I’ll try making the bars with peaches from our backyard tree. The inclusion of oatmeal in the crust and topping gives the bars a nice chew.
FRUITY CRUMBLE BARS
Crust and topping:
2 Cups all-purpose flour
1 Cup old fashioned oats
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar – light or dark
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes (If using salted butter, omit the 1/4 teaspoon salt)
4 Cups fresh fruit (leave smaller berries whole; cut larger fruits into smaller chunks/slices)
1/3 Cup granulated sugar
1 Tablespoon cornstarch
juice of half a lemon
1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line a 13×9 inch baking dish with parchment paper. (I cut a straight line in the parchment at each corner to make it easier to bend and fold into the pan.)
2. For the crust and topping, mix flour, oats, granulated sugar, brown sugar, baking powder, and salt together in a large bowl.
3. Whisk egg and vanilla together in a separate bowl, then pour into the dry ingredients.
4. Add cubed butter. Use a pastry blender or a couple of forks to work the butter in evenly until everything is incorporated and the mixture has a crumbly texture.
5. Divide the crumbly mixture in half. Press one half into the bottom of the parchment-lined 13×9 inch baking dish and set remaining half aside.
6. For the filling, combine the 1⁄3 Cup sugar, cornstarch, and lemon juice together in another large mixing bowl.
7. Add the fruit and gently stir to coat it evenly with the cornstarch/sugar mixture.
8. Spread fruit filling in an even layer over the crust in the baking pan, and sprinkle the remaining crumbly mixture on top.
9. Bake for 40-45 minutes. Watch closely as ending cooking time nears so the topping doesn’t burn; it should have a nice golden color.
10. Cool completely before cutting into squares or rectangles. Leftovers are best kept refrigerated in a sealed container, though that’s typically not an issue in this house.
Amy Roby can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.