Can I just stop for a minute and tell you how much I love blackberries? I was born on Vancouver Island, British Columbia, and I have to say, one of my favourite early memories is going outside to our backyard, picking fresh blackberries right off the bushes on our property, and then taking them to my dad, who would make an amazing blackberry pie. (My mom always cooked and baked for us as well, but when it came to blackberry pie, my dad was the hands-down winner every time.) Oh, blackberry pie. One of my favourite desserts.
Now, a wonderful friend of mine commissioned me to make a selection of desserts, and, it being June, berries and baking are on my mind. Ever since seeing this recipe on Annie’s Eats, I knew I had to try it. Blackberries? Yes. Pie? Please. Bars? Love them. Finally, finally I had a chance to try this recipe out. Let me say, it did not disappoint me. Annie knows her baked goods.
The crust is beautiful and buttery and crumbly deliciousness all rolled up into one. The filling is perfectly juicy, sweet, and tart, just like a blackberry should be. Finally, there is a wonderful lemony flavour that complements the blackberries so well. If you are a lover of blackberries, do yourself a favour and make these sometime soon.
Yields: 16-20 bars (in an 8 x 8 inch or 9 x 9 inch square pan)
1½ c. flour
¾ c. sugar
Pinch of salt
Zest of half a lemon
¾ c. (12 tbsp.) unsalted butter, cold
2 large eggs
1 c. sugar
½ c. sour cream or greek yogurt
6 tbsp. all-purpose flour
Pinch of salt
Juice of half a lemon
1 tsp. vanilla extract
15-16 oz. blackberries, fresh or frozen (thawed and drained of excess juices)
Preheat the oven to 350˚F. Line a 8 x 8 inch or 9 x 9-inch baking pan with foil and grease lightly. In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, salt and lemon zest. Toss with a fork to combine. Cut the butter into small cubes, then add to the bowl with the dry ingredients. With a pastry cutter (or two forks and your hands if you do not have a pastry cutter) 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.
After crust has cooled, 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 blackberries 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.