August 10, 2013

Blueberry Pie Bars

Ah, today was spent the way a Saturday should be spent. With my family! Helped some new neighbors move in, again (seriously, isn't our building full yet??), then took our funny little grill and some burger fixin's, along with a neighbor's dog, up the canyon for a picnic. Grilled up some scrumptious burgers, played in the river, came home for naps. Oh, and coincidentally, found the house I want to buy. Love at first sight. It better be on the market still this spring!! Then I took a nap while all the boys went swimming. Hooray for Saturdays!!

These, my dear readers, are my showstoppers for the week. These are what I was picturing making all the way home from the cabin, whisking my apron on, and getting to work! The summer slump was over and it was time to get back to work in style. I've been eyeing these babies for months, and finally had the oomph to get it done!

Blueberry Pie Bars (adapted from Zoe Bakes)
Printable Recipe

Bottom Shortbread Crust:
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
3/4 cup unsalted butter
1/2 tsp salt
zest from 1 large lemon (a teaspoon or more)

Blueberry Filling:
6 cups fresh or frozen blueberries
1/2 cup sugar
Pinch of salt
2 Tb cornstarch

Cream Cheese Dough for Lattice Top Crust:
8 oz cream cheese
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 egg mixed with 1 tablespoon water (egg wash)
Sugar for sprinkling

Let's start with the shortbread:

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease a 9x9-inch square baking dish and line with parchment paper or foil. Grease the lining. (I actually used an 8x8. They were much thicker than I was expecting, and I only used half of the top crust dough. Next time I will make it in a 9x13, which I recommend.  If you want to make them as thick as I did, then you'll probably want to halve the cream cheese dough recipe)

Combine the sugar, flour, butter, salt and zest in the food processor (or mixer, food processor is faster though) Process the ingredients until it forms dough. If you are using cold butter this may take a few minutes. (Don’t wash the bowl, you can use it again for the other dough)
Press the dough into the prepared pan. Bake on the middle rack for about 20 minutes, just until it is light gold. Let it cool while you continue.

Time for the top dough! In the food processor (or mixer, again) cream together the cream cheese, butter and sugar. Add the flour and mix until it comes together in a soft ball. Divide the ball in two discs and refrigerate for about one hour.

While the dough is chilling lets get the filling ready: Place blueberries in a small saucepan. In a small bowl whisk together the sugar and cornstarch, then add it to the blueberries. Cook over low heat until the blueberries thicken and reduce by about half. (I like to crush about half of mine while they're cooking) When you are done cooking them you will have about 2 1/2 cups of blueberry filling. Set aside to cool while you prepare the lattice.

Once the cream cheese dough is chilled, roll it out on a well floured surface and then use a Pastry Wheel to create strips. (A pastry wheel creates those lovely ruffly edges, you can just use a sharp knife or pizza cutter if you don't have one)
You can make them thick or thin, depending on what look you are going for. Mine are about 1/2 inch thick.

Lay out half the strips on a sheet of parchment, set on a cookie sheet, with some space between the strips.(about half an inch) Fold up every other strip halfway and lay one of the remaining strips across the middle of those still laid flat.
Lay down the folded strips over the middle strip. Now fold the strips you didn't fold before up and back over that middle strip, and place a new one across those laying flat.
Repeat: lay strips down, fold back alternating strips, place new strip across flat ones...
Once you get to the end, go back to the middle and repeat all this for the other side!
Place the cookie sheet with lattice in the freezer to stiffen.

Pour the blueberry filling over the shortbread crust and let it sit while you wait for the lattice to chill.

Remove the lattice from the freezer and make sure it is the right size. Eyeball it next to your baking dish, or hold the dish over the top and eyeball it. Use the pastry wheel to trim excess. You can always trim more when you place it on the filling. Quickly brush the lattice with the egg wash.

Carefully lift the lattice with a wide spatula and your hands. If the lattice is chilled well enough this should be a very easy task. If it is still too soft return it to the freezer until it is harder. Trim any excess. Sprinkle with the sugar. Bake for about 35 to 40 minutes or until the crust is golden and filling is bubbling. Let cool a few minutes before serving. (I liked them best after refrigerating!)
My first ever lattice crust! And it turned out awesome!! That chilling idea is pure genius. Love it. Don't they just look fun??
Sure, you have to make two different doughs, and there are more than a few steps, but these were really really fun to make. And more fun to eat!
Before chilling the filling is a little gooey. Definitely not runny, but not what I was picturing. I was expecting thin, cookie bar-type-thingees. These are considerably thicker!
Thick and lusciously blueberry-y. These bars have satisfied my lifelong quest for the perfect blueberry pie. I've never had one that didn't have a leathery, tasteless crust and runny filling. I'd take these over a pie any day! The top crust is sweet and tender and delicious, the bottom is crumbly and short with a hint of lemon. Soooo good.
I gave a few away and ate the rest for breakfasts. Over a week. But still. Oh man. Tell me you don't want one of those!!


  1. I don't want one of them. I want a WHOLE plateful of them. WOW. These look like a bluebery-filled dream come true. And so gorgeous too! When I saw the pics instantly I thought "Oh yeah, that's so April". I think of you when I see lattice crusts, and it looks so perfectly done. I can't wait to make these (though I'm sure they won't look nearly as pretty!)

  2. Yum, I want the whole dish also. I have to make these!
    Thank you!

    1. Oh, I hope you do! They're so worth all the steps. And so darn pretty :) Thanks for commenting!

  3. Hi from your newest follower on GFC, twitter and bloglovin! Found you over at StoneGable. I must pin this! I cant wait to try the recipe! Hope you can stop by and link up at our Wonderful Wednesdays Linky party, that is live NOW! Here is the link:

    Have a good one!

    1. *Salute* On my way over Kristen! Thank you so much for stopping by, so glad to meet you! I hope you enjoy your stay :)


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