One of the joys of late summer is blackberries. I envisioned a simple dessert bar that had a crisp, buttery crust topped with as much blackberry sweetness as crust.
Blackberries are deep purple, with a mellow sweetness and flavor. The filling has no spices to distract from the blackberriness of the flavor. And when it’s the middle of winter, and summer feels far away, know that this dessert works quite well with frozen berries. Enjoy!
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, divided
1 1/2 cups sugar, divided
10 oz (2 cups) unbleached all purpose flour
1/2 tsp. salt
4 cups fresh or frozen blackberries (may use a frozen berry mix*)
5 TB corn starch
1/3 cup water
Preheat oven to 375. Line a 9 X 13 pan with parchment paper.
Crust: To make the crust, begin by setting aside 2 TB butter for the topping. Soften the remaining butter to a soft but not melted consistency. (the microwave on low power is my tool of choice for this task). Blend softened butter, 1/2 cup sugar, flour and salt together until loose crumbs form. Turn out into the parchment lined baking pan and gently pat the crumbs to create a crust. Don’t worry that it’s perfectly smooth, just eliminate any holes. Bake at 375 until golden. (start checking at 22 minutes)
Topping: While the crust is baking, you will create the blackberry topping. Place the blackberries and 1 cup sugar in a medium saucepan and place on medium heat. Mix together cornstarch and water, then stir this into the blackberry/sugar mixture. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, and smashing the berries to release the juices. Bring to a boil, then cook at a gentle boil for one minute. Remove from heat and stir in the 2 TB butter. Set aside until crust is golden.
When the crust is done, and blackberry topping is cooked, pour the hot blackberry topping onto the warm crust. Gently smooth out the topping over the crust and pop into the oven for 5 minutes. Remove from oven and cool until at least as cool as toom temp. May be cooled in the fridge.
Cut into rectangular bars and enjoy. For best texture, serve within a day or two of baking. Store airtight in the fridge.
* if you are using a frozen berry mix, consider adding a bit more sugar to the topping. The blackberries I used in the recipe were quite sweet, so the sugar level is suited for them.