So, uh… yeah, this is another late post, in that the sour cherry season (all 3 weeks of it) is totally over now, thus rendering the titular version of these hybrid fruit crisp-cookies somewhat irrelevant until next summer. (hey July 2017, I hate you already) That said, this recipe is too good to file away for that long and, more importantly, not limited to just one elusive summer berry
The title of this post really should be “Sour Cherry/Blueberry/Raspberry/Almost any other fruit Crumb Bars” since they are as adaptable as that title is long, but believe it or not that didn’t have much of a ring to it. The original uses blueberry, which may actually be my favorite fruit to use in these bars to this day- to put that in context, that’s seven years and counting. I’ve found that the more delicate fruits, such as raspberries and strawberries, don’t hold up quite as well because they release too much liquid. That said, I’ve never met a batch of these that couldn’t be salvaged by chilling/freezing/eating directly out of the pan.
Regardless, these are the perfect for a late summer potluck, picnic, BBQ, or whatever people who don’t hate the outdoors in the summer do. I’m not going to start with my thoughts on “no-bake” recipes here, but suffice it to say I think these are worth the effort, even when it’s just TOO. DAMN. HOT.
Note: I didn’t get a chance to shoot the making of the sour cherry version, so instead I used the images from when I made it with blueberries. Looking back on it, I probably could have lied and said otherwise *dammit*
The original recipe only calls all-purpose flour, but as listed below, I now use a blend of it and whole wheat AP flour. I think it gives it a little more flavor and balances out the sugar better, but really it’s fine either way.
Sour Cherry Crumb Bars
- Preheat oven to 375 F and line a 9×13 pan with parchment paper.
- Place flour(s), sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl.
- Whisk to combine.
- Grate lemon zest directly on top of bowl, or add in if done in advance, and mix again.
- Add cold butter cubes and egg to flour mix, then cut in with pastry blender, two knives, or hands.
- Continue blending until the largest crumbs are about pea-sized- if your kitchen is especially hot, you may want to intermittently chill the bowl in the fridge to avoid the butter softening/melting.
- Divide crumb mixture in two (I just use a knife down the middle of the bowl), and pour half into baking pan.
- Press dough crumbs into pan to cover- if there are unfilled areas, you can take a bit more from the crumb dough
- In another bowl, whisk together the sugar(s), cornstarch and lemon juice.
- Gently fold in the cherries/blueberries/fruit of choice and mix until evenly coated.
- Pour the fruit mixture evenly over the crust, and spread. Crumble remaining dough over the berry layer.
- Bake for 45-55 minutes, or until top is slightly brown- this will very much depend on how hot your oven runs, so start checking at 30 minutes.
- Cool completely in pan or on a baking rack before cutting into bars
- (Optional) Once cooled, chill the bars in the pan for 1-2 hours before slicing and serving- they’re much easier to handle once chilled
- Store in airtight container in fridge for up to 3 days