It's blueberry season! It's definitely one of my favorites. And when you think of blueberries, what the first thing that comes to mind? Blueberry pie, right? Well, these bars have all of the great flavors of a classic blueberry pie, without all of the hassle of chilling and rolling out pie dough. They are a deliciously fruity and light dessert that's perfect for picnics, barbecues, or just because!
INGREDIENTS NEEDED FOR THE BLUEBERRY FILLING
To start this recipe, start by making the filling. This filling is so good-- it's basically a blueberry jam. It will be hard, but TRY to resist the urge to eat it straight out of the pan with a spoon! For the filling, you will only need 5 ingredients! Here's what you'll need:
• Granulated sugar
• Lemon juice
MAKING THE BLUEBERRY FILLING
This blueberry filling is so simple to make. To begin, combine all of the filling ingredients into a pan. Cook over medium heat for 10-15 minutes, stirring every few minutes. The blueberries will cook down and the mixture will become a delicious, thick jam-like consistency. Once finished cooking, turn off heat, and allow it to cool for about 20 minutes. While it cools, start making the crust.
INGREDIENTS FOR THE CRUST AND CRUMBLE
This crust and crumble dough is a cross between traditional pie crust, and a soft cookie. The cold butter and water help make it slightly flaky, and the egg and baking powder help give it some body and rise. Overall, it's a super tender, light crust. For this crust and crumb topping, here’s what you’ll need:
• All-purpose flour
• Baking powder
• Granulated sugar
• Unsalted butter
• Cold water
MAKING THE CRUST AND CRUMBLE TOPPING
In a large bowl, mix together the all-purpose flour, salt, and granulated sugar. Add in the cold cubed butter and the egg. Using a pastry cutter or 2 forks, work the butter into the flour mixture. Continue doing so until all of the egg is combined and the dough resembles very coarse sand. The mixture will be a bit dry, so begin adding in the cold water a teaspoon at a time, mixing after each one. Don't add more water than called for in the recipe. The final dough will still appear crumbly, but should hold it's shape when handling it.
Press ⅔ of the dough mixture into the bottom of an 8x8 pan lined with parchment paper. Press the dough into an even layer. Next, spoon the blueberry mixture on top of the bottom crust layer. Spread evenly. Lastly, using your hands, break up and spread the remaining ⅓ of the dough mixture and all over the top of the blueberry layer, creating the "crumble" topping.
Now, just pop the bars into a 375°F preheated oven and bake for 46-48 minutes. When done baking, the crumble top should just be turning a light golden brown color. Allow bars to cool completely before cutting into slices.
TIPS FOR THE BEST BLUEBERRY PIE CRUMB BARS
Make sure your butter is cold. Similar to pie dough, you want your butter to be very cold. When you use a pastry cutter to “cut” the butter into the flour mixture, the butter will break down into smaller, pea-sized pieces-- that’s what you want! As it bakes, those small pieces of cold butter will heat up and create air pockets in the crust. I like to cut my butter into cubes, then stick it in the freezer for a few minutes until I'm ready to incorporate it into the dough.
You can use fresh or frozen blueberries. I typically use fresh berries, but you most definitely can either fresh or frozen blueberries for these bars. There will be no flavor difference to doing so.
You can make the filling in advance. Whether you have berries that are going to go bad, or you want to get a head start on making these, the filling can be made a day or two in advance. Simply cool it completely, and store it in the refrigerator in an airtight container until ready to use.
Hope you love these bars and that they give you alllll the summer feels! Happy baking! ♥