Because A Friday Treat is the Perfect Way to End the Week!

Thursday, 3 May 2012

Mixed Berry Crunch Bars

Good morning/afternoon/evening! I hope everyone has had a great week, I’ve enjoyed a very lovely five days off and spent the weekend up in Durham and then the rest of the week finally getting to enjoy my new city of York on a weekday, minus the hoards of people who tend to flock to the city at the weekends. Of course, walking around town the week after payday did lead to two new pairs of shoes, a jumper, three tops, a new pair of trousers and four nail varnishes...oops. At least I managed to resist melting my debit card in any of the kitchenware shops, which has more to do with the lack of space in the kitchen than my willpower.

On to this week’s recipe and we’re back to my favourite ingredient of mixed berries. This time I’m putting them into crunchy bars which are part crumble, part cake, part fruity, jammy goodness. I know I’ve already done a mixed berry crumble tart which some might argue is very similar but allow me to argue that this is not the case. First of all, the tart had a pastry base, these bars have a cake base. Second, these bars have jam, the pastry did not and finally, the crumble/crunch topping is completely different. See?? I told you they weren’t the same.

On to the practicalities of this recipe, I’m going to admit that my attempt at these bars was not perfect although I think this is largely down to the fact that I couldn’t find my favourite baking tin. I therefore had to use a new, entirely foreign tin and potentially didn’t grease it enough. I also, even after living in this new house for 6 weeks, have yet to buy kitchen scissors (an absolute nightmare) and therefore my cutting and application of greaseproof paper is really hit and miss when it lines the tin. Ultimately this all led to me having a little trouble getting these bars out of the tin and eating a lot of the crumbly mess I made along the way which is never good! So the bottom line is - make sure that you grease and line your tin properly, don’t get sloppy like me...unless you like that ‘I just ate my own weight in cake crumbs’ feeling or serving hacked at (albeit delicious) mush to your friends.

As with a lot of my recipes, I give you permission to go out into the world and experiment. I used raspberries and blueberries for my version, however you may wish to try an alternative. I feel like apple could be really good (thinly sliced) or maybe even peaches. As I said, experiment and have fun with it!

Some Final Tips Before You Get Started...
  • When you’ve made the batter for the base of the bars, you’ll think ‘really, is this actually going to cover this tin?’ I had exactly the same reservations but I promise that it does
  • The crumble topping mixture for the bars is fairly wet for a crumble mix. It’s really all in the application as you’ll need to get your hands in there and almost sprinkle it around the fruit and jam until it’s evenly distributed. You might also want to give it a gentle pat down into the fruit and jam so that it all combines firmly and doesn’t fall apart later on when you’re dividing it into bars
Mixed Berry Crunch Bars

135g Unsalted Butter (softened)
200g Caster Sugar
1 tsp. Vanilla Extract
1 Large Egg
130g Plain Flour
60g Self Raising Flour
240g Raspberry Jam
100g Raspberries
100g Blueberries

For the Crumble
120g Plain Flour
4 tbsp. Light Brown Sugar
80g Walnuts (finely chopped)
110g Butter (melted)

20cm x 30cm Baking Tin

1)      Preheat the oven to 180◦C, grease and line the tin with greaseproof paper. For the base of the bars, cream together the butter, vanilla extract and caster sugar until light and fluffy. Gradually beat in the egg until combined.
2)      Sift both the plain flour and self-raising flour into the creamed mixture and fold in gently. Spread this batter evenly into the base of the greased and lined tin and bake for 15 minutes.
3)      While the base is baking, begin to gently heat the jam over a low heat. In a separate bowl begin to make the crumble topping by gently combining the flour, light brown sugar and chopped walnuts. Finally, stir in the melted butter until a soft but wet mixture has formed.
4)      When the 15 minutes are over, remove the base from the oven. Spread the warm jam over the base until fully covered before scattering over the fresh raspberries and blueberries. Finally, sprinkle the crumble mixture over the fruit and press down gently to into the fruit and jam.
5)      Bake for a further 20 minutes until the crumble topping is golden and crunchy. Cool completely before dividing into bars or squares. 


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