Please don’t yell at me for posting another delightful dessert recipe this week – I just can’t help myself! First the blackberry oatmeal pie bars, now these strawberry crumb bars. Either of the two would be an outstanding choice for your next reason to make dessert but let me tell you a little secret behind these here bars…it’s not strawberry season yet here in New England. In fact, we’ve got another month to go before any picking goes on but the great thing about strawberries shipped in from Florida in the middle of April is that in spite of the fact that you know they’re not local and thus don’t taste nearly as fantastic as local strawberries do, they’re still damn good in these crumb bars. The strawberries are baked into the form of a buttery hand-held crumble and are truly irresistible. They soften and sweeten into everything you long for in a summer strawberry – need I say more? I made a half-batch and brought them to a meeting with some of my staff at work and there may have been a couple of people who took a few extra bars in napkins just in case they went before seconds could be claimed. Not that I was watching or anything…but doesn’t every food blogger have an eye on the food to see how quickly it disappears? Gosh, I hope I’m not the only one.
- 1½ cups sugar, divided
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- ¼ tsp salt
- Zest of 1 lemon
- 2 sticks (½ lb) cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
- 1 large egg
- 4 cups fresh strawberries, hulled and quartered
- 4 tsp cornstarch
- Juice of 1 lemon
- Preheat the oven to 375° F. Grease a 13×9 inch pan; set aside.
- In a medium bowl, combine 1 cup of the sugar, the baking powder and flour. Mix in the salt and the lemon zest, and stir together with a fork. Cut in the butter and egg with a pastry blender (or two knives if you don’t have one) until the largest chunks are about pea-sized. The mixture should be crumbly without much loose flour. Spread about half of the dough mixture in an even layer over the bottom of the prepared pan and press down firmly to form the bottom crust.
- In another bowl, stir together the remaining sugar, cornstarch and lemon juice. Gently mix in the strawberries with a rubber spatula until combined. Spread the berry mixture evenly over the bottom crust. Crumble the remaining dough over the top of the berries. Bake for about 45 minutes or until the top is slightly golden brown. Cool completely before cutting into squares and serving.