Two things conspired to make me dig out this recipe for our Easter Brunch last week. The first is our collective effort to empty our freezers before summer. We are making great progress toward this goal and every time Tom opens the freezer door he feels compelled to say, “We are starting to look like normal people around here.” That’s debatable, but we have gotten to the point where all that is left from last year’s fruit harvest is a few quarts of frozen blackberries. After making this recipe, I think we are now down to two quarts. Maybe I’ll make it one more time come blackberry winter next month.
The second reason I made this recipe for Easter is because I tend to panic that there isn’t going to be enough food when I am hosting any kind of gathering. So while Vincent was busy whipping cream and egg whites into soft peaks, folding melted chocolate (dark, milk and white) and otherwise performing the many intricate steps that comprised the triple chocolate mousse cake that he was making, I finished these blackberry crumb bars in a mere 15 minutes, using the food processor and a spoon.
Our freezer is looking pretty empty and there was plenty of food on Easter, but the best reason of all to make these bars is that they are delicious with a cup of tea in the afternoon. (And if you have a few hours over a couple of days and want to make Vincent’s recipe, you can get it here. Do I even have to say the original is from Cook’s Illustrated? It was pretty spectacular, even though I personally would never attempt the recipe in a million years.)
Blackberry Crumb Bars
- 1 cup white sugar
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 3 cups all purpose flour
- 1 cup (2 sticks) cold butter
- 1 egg
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- zest and juice of 1 lemon
- 4 cups fresh or frozen (not thawed!) blackberries (blueberries or cherries are great too)
- 1/2 cup white sugar
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
Combine berries, lemon juice, 1/2 cup sugar and cornstarch in a bowl. Let sit while you make the crust. In bowl of food processor combine all dry ingredients. Pulse to mix. With machine running, add butter 1 tablespoon at a time. Add egg. Dough will come together, but will still be relatively crumbly. Pat half of dough in the bottom of a greased 9 x 13 pyrex. Top with berries. Sprinkle remaining dough on top. Bake at 375 for 45 minutes. Cool completely before cutting into squares. Dust with powdered sugar before serving.