Tuesday, July 20, 2010

2 For 1 Tuesday: Blackberry Pie Bars and an Awesome Crust

It's berry season--that itself deserves numerous posts and multiple exclamation points. I LOVE berry season with all my pastry-making heart. There are only about a bazillion fantastic recipes for berries and even the crappy ones look fantastic when you top them with a pile of beautiful blueberries or raspberries or blackberries. Heck, my Special K this morning looked like a commercial thanks to some super-fantastic blueberries.
In light of all this yummy goodness, I'm giving you one of my favorite (and also formerly top secret) recipes for Pie Bars, which includes the recipe for 1-2-3 dough-a professional staple. 

1-2-3 dough is one of those all-purpose, "how did I live without this" dough that is great for tart crusts, bar cookies and sugar cookies. And, because it is made with cake flour instead of AP flour, it is much more forgiving about being rolled out numerous times-it doesn't get all tough and yucky (that's a technical word).

But, you'll need your kitchen scale. Because 1-2-3 dough refers to pounds. First, I'll give you the full recipe, so you see where the name comes from, then the half recipe (not because I think you're idiots but because that's what we are using today for our bar cookies).

1# sugar
2# butter
3# cake flour
3 eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla or almond extract

See, 1-2-3. So a half is...

1/2# sugar
1# butter
1 1/2# cake flour
2 eggs (because it's easier)
vanilla or almond extract

As for what pan size you will need, some of you have the professional aluminum half-sheet pans (I know because I was with you when you bought them); they are 12x17 with short sides. Others of you have 11x15 or 9x13 casserole pans. You can use any of these but you will have some dough left over from the 11x15 or 9x13--which if fine. Freeze the remaining dough for later--with all the berries in season, I can assure you, you'll want it later.

Let's tie on an apron, crank up the oven to 350 and spray whatever pan you are using, Myrtle.

Press the dough into the bottom of the pan so it is about 1/4 inch thick. You should have some dough left over regardless of pan size because you will be using it for the top as well. Set that dough aside and bake the crust you just pressed for about 12-14 minutes, until it is slightly golden around the edges and dry looking.

While that is baking, in a large bowl, combine the following ingredients:

4 eggs
2 cups of sugar
1 cup sour cream
3/4 cup of AP flour
1/2 tsp salt

Whisk these together until they are smooth. Next, with a spatula fold in 2# of berries. Fresh is best but not necessary. If you are using frozen,  be sure to thaw completely and drain off any excess juice. I've made this both ways and they are equally good so you can use this recipe all year long.

Pour this onto the pre-baked crust and level out. Now use the remaining dough to dot the top with pieces of dough evenly. Again, if you are using a smaller pan, you should have dough left over to freeze or chill.  It should look something like this:

Bake for 30-45 minutes (again, depending on what pan you used). You will know the bars are done when the center doesn't wiggle when you jiggle it (we are just SO technical around here) and the edges get golden. 

Remove and cool for at least an hour before trying to cut.  You may want to top these with some powder sugar when they are totally cooled or drizzle them with a confectioner sugar/water glaze.

Wanna know how I drizzle mine? It's kinda shocking-you may want to cover your children's eyes

Oh that poor poor whisk! How could I do that?!?  easily actually because it's also what I use when spinning sugar (a post for another day, I promise). Actually, every time I use this whisk, I kinda giggle....because I'm sick like that.

These bars freeze beautifully, by the way, if you are looking to stock up the freezer for later.


Principalk said...

First of all, did you really do that to your whisk? Secondly, you spin sugar??? Ohh my stars, girl, what can't you do?

betty crocker said...

run a school

Principalk said...

Iknow, I know. You keep saying that.....it's not hard at all.

betty crocker said...

i know, I know, YOU keep saying that :)

Michele said...

got it! i am all over this recipe this weekend.