Blackberries were on sale at the grocery store last week for $1 per carton, so I did what any rational person would do and bought six cartons of them. It wasn’t until I got home with my six cartons of blackberries, did I realize there was no way I could eat all of them before they went bad. So even though I bought them with the intention of being healthy and eating fruit, I ate one carton on their own, and combined the other five cartons with sugar, butter, flour, and sour cream to make these blackberry pie bars.
So I guess now is the time to admit that I’ve never made a real pie. I know, it’s sad. I mean, I’ve made pudding pies with graham cracker crusts but that doesn’t really count. The type of pie I’m talking about is one with a homemade flaky pie crust and fresh fruit filling. It will happen soon. I’m making it a goal for the summer. For now I settled with pie bars, which is actually a misleading statement because there is no “settling” with these bars. They are everything you could want in a pie but so much easier! The blackberries added a little tartness to the sweet and buttery crust and topping, and if you use nuts they give the bars a nice crunch. They cut great if you let them cool completely, and would be perfect to make the day ahead and bring to a barbecue or picnic. One last thing: I halved this recipe because I wasn’t making it for a lot of people, but if you are I would recommend doubling the recipe below and using a 9″x13″ baking dish.
Blackberry Pie Bars
adapted from Joy the Baker
1 1/2 cup all purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar
1/8 tsp salt
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into 1″ chunks
Zest of one lemon
4 large eggs
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup sour cream
1/4 cup + 2 tbsp all purpose flour
pinch of salt
3 cups fresh blackberries (or 1 16 oz package of frozen blackberries, thawed and drained)
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
For the crust:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray 8″x8″ baking pan with cooking spray.
If using nuts, spread them out on an ungreased baking sheet and lightly toast them in the oven, about 8-10 minutes.
In bowl, combine the sugar and lemon zest, and rub together with fingers or the back of a spoon until lemon is fragrant and mixed into the sugar. You will end up with lemon scented sugar.
Combine the lemon sugar, flour, salt, and butter and beat on medium speed with electric mixer fit with paddle attachment until mixture looks crumbly. Reserve 3/4 cup of mixture, and press remaining onto bottom of prepared pan. Bake crust 12-15 minutes, until it is golden brown.
For the filling:
Whisk eggs in a bowl. Add sugar, sour cream, flour, and salt, and stir with spatula until combined. Gently fold in blueberries. Pour the mixture evenly over the crust, making sure to scrape entire bowl onto crust. Also, make sure to move the blackberries around so they are evenly distributed on the crust.
Sprinkle remaining crust mixture over filling, along with walnuts if using. Bake 45 to 55 minutes until the top is lightly browned. Let cool for at least 1 hour, longer if able, before slicing. Store in refrigerator.