Berry Pie Bars

My maternal grandmother was a master baker. She loved baking and was very good at it.  During the holidays she baked pies to give away as gifts.  Not just a few pies for family members and maybe the postman.  No, we’re talking 50+ pies at Thanksgiving and Christmas.  And those were 100% homemade from scratch, crust and all.

I didn’t inherit all of my grandmother’s baking talent, though I can make a good pie with a decent crust from scratch.  And it is something I love to do, especially during Thanksgiving and Christmas.  However, I want to eat pie far more often than I have the time to make one. Can I dedicate the time and attention to make a good pie crust on a weekday afternoon with both kids in the house and Big Man at work? Not so much. And an interruption in the crust-making process results in a Pie Crust Epic Fail (at least for me). The butter gets too warm or I handle the crust too much or I forget an ingredient entirely because I am trying to keep Little Man from pulling the cat’s tail or spreading the clean laundry over the whole house.

That’s why I love these Berry Pie Bars. All the taste of a berry pie, but make-on-a-weekday friendly. You can use all blackberries or raspberries or a mix of both. This recipe is originally from Joy the Baker, but I simplified it by leaving out the lemon sugar and halving the recipe so Big Man and I don’t have a whole 9×13 pan of yumminess sitting around causing temptation. I think the bars actually taste better on the second day after the flavors have melded together. The best part of this recipe? I has fruit and looks kinda like a coffee cake, so I can convince myself it is OK to eat for breakfast.  Of course, I have been known to eat real pie for breakfast. . .

Crust/Topping

1 1/2 cups flour
3/4 cup sugar
dash salt
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, cubed and chilled

Filling

2 eggs
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup sour cream
scant 1/2 cup flour
dash salt
1 16 oz. package frozen berries, thawed and drained

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 9″ square pan. Combine crust/topping ingredients in bowl and mix until it looks crumbly (I use a stand mixer with a paddle attachment). Reserve 3/4-1 cup mixture for topping and press the rest into the prepared pan. Bake for about 15 minutes until it looks light golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool while you mix the filling.

In a bowl, whisk eggs and then add the sugar, sour cream, flour, and salt, mixing until smooth. Gently fold in the berries and pour over the crust, making the sure the berries are evenly distributed. Sprinkle on the topping. Bake for 45-50 minutes until set. Cool completely before serving.

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