Sunday, July 12, 2009

raspberry streusel bars

We are currently experiencing a bumper crop of raspberries. I can't keep up! Seriously - one could go out every day and pick yet another huge batch of berries. But this isn't really something I can complain about, can I? Too many yummy berries... oh no! Poor me! Whatever shall I do?

But the truly annoying thing is that when trying to find recipes which utilize fresh raspberries, most of the raspberry recipes call for... raspberry jam! What's up with that? So apart from actually making jam itself, I had to compromise and find a recipe that uses both. Fortunately for me, it turned out really well and it was raspberryiscious!

Raspberry Streusel Bars

2½ cups all-purpose flour

2/3 cup granulated sugar

½ teaspoon salt

2 ¼ sticks unsalted butter, cut into 18 pieces and softened

½ cup old-fashioned rolled oats

½ cup pecans, toasted and chopped fine

¼ cup packed light brown sugar

¾ cup raspberry jam

¾ cup fresh raspberries

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 375 degrees. Line a 13 by 9-inch baking pan with foil sling * and grease the foil.

Whisk the flour, granulated sugar, and salt together in a large bowl. Beat in 16 tablespoons of the butter with an electric mixer at low speed until the mixture resembles wet sand, 1 to 1 ½ minutes. Reserve 1 ¼ cups of the mixture for the topping.

Sprinkle the remaining mixture into the prepared pan and press into an even layer with the bottom of a measuring cup. Bake the crust until fragrant and the edges begin to brown, 14 to 18 minutes.

Mix the reserved flour mixture, oats, nuts, and brown sugar together in a medium bowl. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons butter and pinch the mixture between your fingers into hazelnut-sized clumps of streusel. In a small bowl, mash the jam, raspberries and lemon juice together with a fork until just some of the berry pieces remain.

Spread the berry mixture evenly over the hot crust, then sprinkle with the streusel topping. Bake the bars until the filling is bubbling and the topping is deep golden brown, 22 to 25 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through baking.

Let the bars cool completely in the pan, set on a wire rack, about 2 hours. Remove the bars from the pan using the foil sling, cut into squares and serve.

*Foil sling – fold two long sheets of aluminum foil so that they are as wide as the baking pan. Lay the sheets of foil in the pan, perpendicular to one another, with the extra foil hanging over the edges of the pan. Push the foil gently into the corners of the pan and up the sides. Try to iron out as many wrinkles as possible. Grease the sides and bottom before using.

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