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Fordhook Lima Beans

Blueberry Streusel Bars with Lemon Cream Filling

Before my children and I depart for a little Spring Break trip, my husband and I had a little getaway together this weekend since he is unable to travel with us.  Seeing how we would be in the car returning today, I needed to have a dinner that could mostly be prepared in advance.  A little prep work this past Friday and I only have the grits and beans to prepare.  

These blueberry streusel bars offer a hint of the tastes of Summer (yes, it will come...someday) along with a satisfying oaty goodness.  It's kind of like getting your blueberry pie fix in bar form.  Speaking of blueberry pie, I like a pinch of ground cinnamon in mine along with the lemon flavor, so I added a bit here.  I also increased the amount of blueberries for an extra good blueberry flavor.  Since I did that, I also added a couple teaspoons of cornstarch to prevent a blueberry ooze.  They are delicious on their own whether chilled or at room temperature.  But like the pie... they are also enjoyed when served with some vanilla ice cream for an a la mode treat. 

Blueberry Streusel Bars with Lemon-Cream Filling
makes 24

1 cup (8-ounces) unsalted butter, softened; plus more for the pan
3 cups (13 1/2-ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats (not quick cooking)
1 1/3 cups firmly packed light brown sugar
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 extra large egg, separated
1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
18 ounces room temperature blueberries, washed and dried
2 teaspoons cornstarch

Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350ยบ F.  Line a 9 x 13-inch metal baking pan with foil, leaving a 1-inch overhang on the ends.  Lightly butter the sides and bottom with butter.

In a large bowl, combine the flour, oats, sugar, cinnamon, salt, and baking powder. Using your fingers, blend the butter completely into the flour mixture.  Transfer 2 cups of the crumb mixture into another bowl.  Blend the egg white into the remaining crumbs, then press the mixture into the bottom of the pan to form a level crust.  Bake the crust until the top starts to form a dry top, about 10-12 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a medium bowl whisk the condensed milk, zest, lemon juice, vanilla, and egg yolk.  Let the mixture stand for 5 minutes, it will begin to thicken.  In a separate bowl, toss the blueberries with the cornstarch.

Remove the crust from the oven and sprinkle the blueberries on top.  Drop spoonfuls of the lemon cream mixture over the blueberries.  Spread gently to distribute more evenly.  Bake until the lemon cream just begins to form a shiny skin, about 7-8 minutes.

Sprinkle the reserved topping over the blueberry-lemon layer, pressing the streusel between your fingers into small lumps you sprinkle.  Bake until the filling is bubbling at the edges and the topping is golden brown, about 25-30 minutes.

Let the bars cool in the pan on a wire rack until just warm, about an hour.  Carefully lift them out of the pan using the foil overhang and return it to a wire rack to cool completely.  Return the bars to the pan, cover and refrigerate until chilled.  When ready to serve, remove the bars from the pan.  Remove the foil and cut into 24 bars.  Serve chilled or at room temperature.  Enjoy!

Source: Adapted from Fine Cooking, June/July 2008


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