Blackberry Pie Bars
Real talk: can you ever have too many pie bar recipes?
The answer must be no, because on my blog alone we already have four variations: apple & raspberry, pecan, plum & blackberry, and a very early recipe for lemon & blueberry. Admittedly, I didn’t think there were that many on my blog until 5 seconds ago when I searched it, but nevertheless – it is important to have options. Can we make this our annual summer tradition? The sun starts to beat down unrelentingly upon us, we start being invited to the odd BBQ or two, and a new pie bar recipe is born. Let’s do this!
Up until I made the Blackberry & Apple Crumble of last year, blackberries were never really my thing. I more or less considered them the runt of the berry family – raspberry’s ugly sibling, if you will. I have no idea where this misconception came from or how it stuck in my mind for all those years, but I’m thankful to have seen the error of my ways.
These are, without a doubt, the best of all the pie bar recipes on my blog. It starts with a simple – but infinitely delicious – butter base, that gets slightly par-baked while we gather our thoughts & layers. Butter is mushed together with oats, sugar, flour + spice until crumbly – being sure to leave some of the crumbs on the larger side for those extra buttery bites. Blackberries get lightly tossed with sugar & a barely noticeable amount of warming spices. The fruit is evenly dispersed over the par-baked crust, which gets generously doused with the crumble topping, & – at last – baked until the juices are bubbling and the smell of butter has filled the whole house.
Buttery, crumbly, fruity, lightly spiced. Your summer days need these. Happy baking!
Makes 12 bars
For the base:
- 170g salted butter
- 255g plain flour
- 60g light brown sugar
For the crumble topping:
- 125g plain flour
- 45g jumbo oats
- 100g light brown sugar
- ¼ teaspoon baking powder
- 115g salted butter, at room temperature
For the filling:
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, I always use homemade
- 50g caster sugar
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 2 tablespoons plain flour
- 375g blackberries
- Preheat the oven to 180C & grease & line a 9 x 9-inch brownie tin with baking parchment; set aside.
- First, make the crust. Place the butter in a saucepan over a medium to high heat & leave to brown. Swirl the butter occasionally. After about 5 minutes, the foam should subside & you should start to see a light brown colour, & it should smell nutty. Remove from the heat & pour into a different bowl to cool to room temperature. (I’m impatient, so our butter was promptly put into the fridge to cool down.)
- In a large bowl, combine the flour with the brown sugar. Pour in the cooled brown butter & mix until a ball of dough forms. Neatly press the dough into the prepared tin until evenly dispersed & bake in the preheated oven for about 20 minutes, or until lightly golden. Set aside to cool.
- Next, make the crisp topping. Using your fingertips, combine all of the ingredients in a large bowl until crumbs start to form. Set aside.
- Now, the filling. Add the sugar, vanilla extract, & lemon juice to a large bowl & use your fingers to fully incorporate. Mix in the spices and the flour. Finally, add the blackberries to the bowl & toss thoroughly.
- Pour the filling over the par-baked crust & sprinkle the crisp topping evenly over the top. Bake in the oven for 30-40 minutes, or until the fruits start to release their juices.
- Leave to cool completely before slicing. Enjoy slightly warm with some whipped cream!