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Blueberry and Lemon Crumb Bars

Author/Submitted by: Marie Simmons, Bar Cookies A to Z (1994)
Servings: 24
Categories: Cookies / Desserts

Ingredients:
    --CRUST--
1 1/2  cups  all-purpose flour, unbleached
2  tablespoons  sugar
2  teaspoons  grated lemon rind
1/4  teaspoon  salt
1/2  cup  cold butter, cut in 1/4" slices
1  large  egg yolk
1  teaspoon  vanilla extract
1  tablespoon  cold water, optional
    --FILLING--
1/2  cup  sugar
2  tablespoons  all-purpose flour, unbleached
1/4  teaspoon  freshly ground nutmeg
2  cups  blueberries, rinsed and sorted
    --TOPPING--
5  tablespoons  soft butter
1/2  cup  packed light brown sugar
3/4  cup  all-purpose flour, unbleached
    confectioner's sugar

Directions:
Oven 400F / 200C. Butter is unsalted unless otherwise stated. Lightly butter a 13- x 9-inch baking pan. TO MAKE THE CRUST: Combine flour, sugar, lemon zest and salt in the bowl of a food processor. With the motor running, add pads of cold butter, a few at a time. In a small cup, stir together the egg yolk and vanilla. With the motor running, gradually add the yolk mixture; process until the mixture pulls together. If the mixture seems dry, add some to all of the cold water. Turn dough out (it will be crumbly) into the prepared pan; with floured fingertips, carefully press the dough into an even layer over the bottom of the pan. TO MAKE THE FILLING: In a large bowl, stir together the sugar, flour and nutmet until blended. Add the blueberries; stir to coat. Spread the blueberry-sugar mixture into an even layer over the crust. TO MAKE TOPPING: Work the butter and sugar together with a wooden spool until blending. Using a fork, gradually add the flour, stirring until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Sprinkle the mixture evenly over the blueberries. BAKE for 15 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees, and back for 25 to 30 minutes longer, or until the edges and topping are browned and the blueberries are cooked. Cool on a wire rack before cutting into bars. Lightly sprinkle with powdered sugar before serving.

Marie likes to make these bars in midsummer when the blueberry crop is at its peak, but frozen berries may be used; the bars will be a little more moist. As the bars bake, the butter crust, sugared blueberries and brown-sugar crumb topping melt together. The result is a just-sweet-enough fruit bar that is perfect with a tall glass of lemonade or ice tea (or so says Marie, who is a Bon Appetit columnist and author/editor of several cookbooks.)


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