It's a lovely Saturday here in Brooklyn, one of those New York summer weekend days that make you want to just walk around all afternoon -- warm but not hot, not muggy, and perfectly breezy. Gorgeous! Even errand-running doesn't seem like a chore on a day like this... :)
When I think of summer, I always think of berries (since I do have food pretty much on the brain 24/7... :) -- and blueberries specifically, since they're Mark's favorite. I'm always looking for fun ways to use them that he'll like. A couple of weeks ago I whipped up these bars when we had friends coming over in the afternoon. They're so simple to make and absolutely delicious -- like little blueberry pies, without the fuss.
I always add cassis to anything I make with blueberries -- I learned that years ago from a fabulous blueberry pie recipe in the Silver Palate Good Times Cookbook. You don't taste the alcohol or the currant flavor -- it just brings out the blueberriness of the blueberries.
Blueberry Crumb Bars
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. plus a pinch of salt
16 Tbsp. (2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 large egg
4 cups fresh blueberries
2 Tbsp. cassis (optional)
1 Tbsp. cornstarch
1. Preheat oven to 375ºF. Line a 9-by-13-inch baking pan with foil, leaving an overhang over 2 sides. Mist foil with cooking spray.
2. In a food processor, pulse together 1 cup sugar, flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. Add the butter pieces and pulse again until mixture resembles wet sand. Pulse in egg, just to blend. The dough will be crumbly. Pat half into the baking pan.
3. In a bowl, stir the remaining 1/2 cup sugar, cornstarch and pinch of salt. Fold in the blueberries and cassis, if using. Pour the blueberry mixture evenly over the crust. Crumble the reserved dough over the berries. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, until the top is golden brown and the berries are bubbling. Let cool on a wire rack until room temperature, then cover and chill for at least 1 hour before lifting out and cutting into bars.
Note: These keep beautifully in the fridge, covered, for up to 4 days. You can give them a little toast in the toaster oven to crisp them up again. They're also great with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. I didn't try it but I bet they'd freeze well, too.