Raspberries may just be the perfect fruit. Beautiful to look at, full of texture and bursting with flavor in your mouth. My favorite way to eat raspberries is either straight off the bush or out of the basket and directly into my mouth. Due to their very limited shelf life, when I found myself with a half-flat of berries (I couldn’t resist) last weekend, I knew I had better find something to do with at least half of them.
My mind went to a recipe from the Smitten Kitchen website about a year ago and they ave been in the back of my mind ever since. This seemed like the perefect opportunity to give them a try.
Deb lists them as Breakfast Bars, but I am going to simply call them Fruit Bars, because they are delicious anytime of the day. I did increase the amount of raspberries just a bit to give a thicker fruit layer. The only other significant change I made was to mix the streusel with a pastry blender and my fingers since I don’t own a food processor.
Don’t make the same mistake I did and wait a year to give them a try.
For the crust and crumb:
1- 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
1- 1/4 cups rolled oats
3/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
3/4 cup (1- 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch pieces
For the raspberry filling:
1/4 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 1/4 pound fresh raspberries
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
Make the crust and crumb: Preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter the bottom and sides of a 9-by-13-inch glass or light-colored metal baking pan. Put a long piece of parchment paper in the bottom of the pan, letting the parchment extend up the two short sides of the pan and overhang slightly on both ends. (This will make it easy to remove the bars from the pan after they have baked.) Butter the parchment.
Put the flour, brown sugar, oats, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and cinnamon in a bowl and mix with fork. Add the butter and cut with pastry cutter until loose crumbs forms and evenly mixed.
Reserve 1-1/2 cup of the mixture and set aside. Pour the rest of the mixture into the prepared pan and use your hands or the back of a large wooden spoon to push the crust into an even layer at the bottom of the pan. The crust should touch the sides of the pan. Bake until golden brown, 12 to 15 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let the crust cool. Keep the oven on while you make the raspberry filling.
Make the raspberry filling: In a medium bowl, whisk the sugar, lemon zest, cinnamon and flour together. Add the raspberries, lemon juice and butter and use your hands to toss gently until the raspberries are evenly coated.
Assemble and bake the bars: Spread the raspberry filling evenly on top of the cooled crust. Sprinkle the reserved crust mixture evenly on top of the filling.
Bake for 35 to 45 minutes, rotating the pan every 15 minutes, until the top is golden brown and the filling starts to bubble around the edges.
Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely, then cut into squares and serve.