Blueberries…there you sit all round, intensely blue, full of your juicy selves.
Let’s heat you up with freshly squeezed orange juice, sugar and vanilla beans scraped straight outta the pod. Kiss your composure goodbye, blueberries.
You’ll fall apart, for sure. And wake up poured over one quietly crunchy, pistachio-green crust.
Topped by another.
You’ll get baked for nearly an hour. Then I’ll let you cool in the garden on a table with a good view and a fringed, linen cloth.
Before I cut you up and serve you, blueberries.
You’ve been humbled into pie, cut in bars.
This is my midsummer, finger food dessert: perfect for a picnic or a potluck party.
It’s summertime. I say…beat up some blueberries. Turn them into a humble-looking bar with a softly crunchy, pistachio crust. Serve ’em warm and oozy. Seduce summer.
Whipped cream and/or vanilla ice cream: encouraged. Welcomed.
Here’s the recipe followed by some photos to help illustrate some prep and assembly. Oink on!
Summary: Softly crunchy pistachio crusted bars oozing with blueberry vanilla bean filling. Humble. Soulful. Simple. Summer dessert.
for the blueberry vanilla bean filling:
- 3 cups fresh blueberries, rinsed and stemmed
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 2 Tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice
- one 2 inch long piece of vanilla bean
for the pistachio crusts:
- 2/3 cups of shelled pistachios *measure after shelling
- 1 1/2 cups Old Fashioned oats
- 1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 cup golden brown sugar
- 1/2 cup (8 Tablespoons or one stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
pan sizes, special tools and such:
- 10 1/2″ long x 7″ wide x 2″ deep *I used a Le Creuset 1 4/5 quart baking dish
- parchment paper
Instructions for prepping the baking pan:
- Butter the baking dish
- Line with parchment paper. Trim to top edge but leave enough so that you can lift the baked bar from the pan by lifting the parchment paper. *NOTE: you can bake these bars without the paper step and wrestle them from the pan with a spatula. The first piece will probably get messed up but it’ll work out.
- Butter the parchment paper.
Instructions for the blueberry vanilla bean filling:
- Put the blueberries in a medium saucepan.
- Pour sugar and orange juice over the berries.
- Split vanilla bean piece in half. Scrape the beans from each pod half onto the berries, sugar, juice mixture you have going on. *Keep the pod halves to add to Vanilla Sugar if you are so inclined. Here’s a link to my Vanilla Sugar recipe.
- Bring berry mixture to a strong simmer over medium heat while stirring occasionally. The berries will begin to release juices. Approx. 2 minutes
- Turn heat to low and allow berry mixture to simmer uncovered for 25-30 minutes stirring occasionally. The berries will release juices at first. Then the mixture will slowly simmer off that water and begin to thicken. Most of the berries will have exploded and fallen apart. You want the filling to be syrupy and pourable. It will thicken more as it bakes and set when the baked bars cool.
Instructions for the pistachio crusts:
- Pour shelled pistachios into a food processor. Pulse a few times to get them going then process until pistachios are finely chopped.
- Add oats and process until finely chopped and well-mixed with pistachios.
- Add flour and salt. Pulse to mix well.
- Add brown sugar. Pulse to mix well.
- Add butter. Pulse until the mixture begins to gather together: about 10-12 times. The dough will be a bit shaggy.
- Turn pistachio dough out onto a work surface. Gently work any remaining flour or dry bits into the mixture by folding it lightly and gently gathering it together with your hands. Don’t overwork it. Let it come together into a sloppy ball then stop.
- Divide dough into two halves.
Instructions for assembling and baking Blueberry Pistachio Bars:
- Using your hands flatten one dough ball a bit then lay it into your prepared pan. Use your fingertips to coax the dough into an even layer covering the bottom of the pan. This is your lower crust.
- Pour blueberry vanilla bean filling onto the lower crust. Use the back of a spoon or a spatula to spread it in an even layer.
- Divide the remaining dough ball into two or three pieces. Gently flatten each piece between your hands. Gently place each piece of dough on top the blueberry filling. Don’t worry about gaps that show blueberry beneath. Encourage a few because those gaps, once baked, will become deep blue, oozy berry rivers breaking through a golden crust.
- Bake at 350 degrees for 46-50 minutes. The top crust should be golden brown and slightly firm to the touch at the edges.
- Allow to cool in the pan for at least 30 minutes.
- Remove from pan by lifting the parchment paper from either side…like a sling full of Blueberry Pistachio Bar.
- Peel the parchment paper away from the sides of the bar. Allow to cool a bit more. Approx. 10 minutes of so.
- Cut and serve. *Goes well with ice cream or whipped cream or solo.
- Store in fridge in airtight container. Will keep for approx. 4-5 days. Best served at room temperature or slightly warm. If you store it in fridge then allow it to come to room temp before serving. Or try heating it in the oven. *Warning: microwaving it will make the crust mushy.
Prep time: 40 minutes for berry filling, crusts and assembly
Baking time: 46 – 50 minutes at 350 degrees
Cooling time: 40 minutes
Servings: 8 bars
recipe by fat pig in the market
The following photo collection is subtitled: Cameo Appearances by Apron Strings. Persistence pays off when you’re trying to get on camera.
The assembly line. Pan Prep: