This one's for the road--- it's the last thing I'll cook in this lovely kitchen that looks out over an ever changing marsh landscape and always seems to be drenched in light. I'm stretching it a little as it is...most of my stuff is packed and I have to pick through boxes for a wooden spoon and square baking pan. I just can't help myself.
I saw these a while ago on Amy's blog, The Moveable Feasts and it was one of those recipes I knew I was going to try. I'm pretty sure Amy and I must share some serious foodie dna because I crave everything she makes. Our tastes are similar enough that I often mutter a 'damn I wish I'd thought of that' when I visit. There are zillions of blogs out there with wonderful recipes and gorgeous photos, but only a handful whose palates just seem to match up with mine. Amy's is one of those.
I used blackberries and pecans, because that's what I need to use up. Amy uses apricot, peach and almond. The genius of these little squares, besides the buttery nutty shortbread crust and the nubbly topping is the unexpected burst of fresh flavor that comes from using whole fruit. I can think of so many variations of fruit, jam and nuts for these bars already. I know they're going to become regulars at our house.
Blackberry Pecan Crumble Squares ~~~adapted from America's Test Kitchen
via The Moveable Feasts
oven to 375
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
a heaping 1/2 cup pecans, plus 1/3 cup pecans, finely chopped, for topping
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
a pinch of salt
1 stick, 8 Tbsp, unsalted butter, cut in pieces, room temperature
2 6oz packs of fresh blackberries
1/3 cup blackberry preserves
a squeeze of fresh lemon juice
- Line a 9x9 baking pan with a sling of parchment paper, edges hanging off the sides for easy removal from the pan later.
- In a food processor, pulse the flour, 1/2 cup pecans, sugars and salt a few times to combine. Add the softened butter and pulse until the butter is thoroughly incorporated and the mixture has a large moist crumb texture. Keep pulsing until there is no dry flour left.
- Measure out about 1/2 cup of the mixture for the crumb topping and set aside. Put the rest in your lined pan. Spread it out and pat down the crust with your hands or the back of a measuring cup. Press firmly and get it evenly distributed.
- Bake the crust for 15 minutes.
- Pinch the remaining crumb mixture together with your fingertips to form larger crumbs for the crumble topping. Set aside.
- Process the fresh berries and the preserves in the processor briefly to break down the fruit.
- Put the mixture in a saucepan and heat to simmering. Let it bubble away gently until the mixture thickens a bit. This took me about 20 minutes since my berries released a lot of liquid. Take off the heat and add the splash of lemon juice.
- Spread out the fruit evenly over the crust.
- Top with the remaining crumble mixture, and then the 1/3 cup finely chopped pecans.
- Bake for 20 minutes.
- Cool completely before cutting.
A little plastic wrap and these should last us through several states.
I'll try to stay in touch from the road!