Blackberry Pie Bars

Spring has been well-established here in Geneva. Everywhere you look, it is green. Flowering trees are in their glory and my lawn is a carpet of wildflowers. Having never experienced a true spring before (you know, where stuff grows and there are leaves on the trees), I find the weather kind of miraculous. We’ve been trying to get outside everyday, enjoying some fantastic sunshine and resting when we can!

With the beginning of the nice weather comes my increasing interest in fruit-based desserts. Time to shed those fatty winter recipes and heavy chocolate treats, along with the layers of pregnancy fat that’s surrounding me! Of course, that doesn’t mean we don’t eat delicious things.

I’m actually able to do some baking, largely in part because E will only settle down when she is wrapped up in a sling on my chest, and I am moving around. There’s no sitting down these days, which would be fine if the newest little monster slept at all during the night … but these are the challenges we agree to take on with kids. The upside is: more baking.

I found these really delicious treats on Annie’s Eats. I had some frozen berries in the freezer and I used them to make these for a brunch with friends. We wanted to show some people around here a proper North American breakfast. The Swiss don’t really eat breakfast, just something sweet or a croissant with coffee. My tutor, a young girl born and raised in my village, was horrified when I told her we eat eggs and bacon for breakfast. However, the friends we had over were South African and Scottish, so they were slightly less horrified by the spread we put out. Especially the Scot, who said it was just like a proper fry-up to beat away the hangover on Sunday!


Blackberry Pie Bars


For the crust/topping:

1 1/2 cups flour

3/4 cup sugar

Pinch of salt

Zest of half a lemon

3/4 cup unsalted butter, cold

For the filling:

2 eggs

1 cup sugar

1/2 cup sour cream or greek yogurt

6 tbsp flour

Pinch of salt

Juice of half a lemon

1 tsp vanilla extract

15-16 oz berries, fresh or frozen (thawed and drained of excess juices

Preheat the oven to 180C.  Line a 9 x 9-in baking pan with foil and grease lightly with butter.  In the bowl of a mixer, combine the flour, sugar, salt and lemon zest. Cut the butter into small cubes, then add to the bowl with the dry ingredients.  Mix in short pulses to cut the butter into the dry ingredients until only small pieces of butter remain and the mixture is crumbly.

Reserve ¾ cup of the mixture for topping the bars.  Add the rest of the mixture to the prepared pan and press to form an even layer of crust on the bottom of the pan.  Bake 12-15 minutes, until light golden.  Let cool 10-15 minutes before proceeding.

In a medium bowl, make the filling mixture.  Combine the eggs, sugar, sour cream, flour, salt, lemon juice and vanilla.  Whisk until smooth.  Gently stir in the berries with a spatula.  Spread the filling mixture over the pre-baked crust in the baking pan.  Crumble the reserved topping mixture over the filling evenly.

Bake until the top is beginning to brown and the bars are just set, about 45 minutes.  Let cool completely on a wire rack.  Chill to firm up before slicing and serving.


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