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Wild Blackberry season…I have so many memories associated with you. Sometimes it seems like Summer hasn’t officially started until the Blackberries are ripe…that is how you know it has finally gotten warm enough in the Northwest. At the same time, you get the feeling that summer will soon come to an end, as usually the blackberries don’t get juicy and ripe until mid-August.  But then again, summer usually begins in July and ends in August ’round these parts…

Luckily, I found one of the best possible ways to use freshly picked blackberries – these insanely good Blackberry Pie Bars. I made these last Friday night at about 9PM, exhausted from the work week, half asleep…but I was determined to bring them to a party the next day. Thank God I soldiered on.

These are easy enough to make while half asleep, but they taste like something out of a homey bakery you randomly found on the side of the road. I can’t wait to make these again and again…Or at least every summer when Blackberry season rolls around.

I will always have a feeling associated with blackberry picking, an emotion you can’t quite put your finger on, maybe because it’s a mix of many things. Many stories, childhood memories, brambly bushes…but these bars will implant a very clear feeling: deliciousness.

Blackberry picking, 2010.

Blackberry Pie Bars
From Joy the Baker

Crust and Topping

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) chilled unsalted butter, cut into cubes
  • zest of two lemons

Blackberry Filling

  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • pinch of salt
  • 2  (16-ounce) packages frozen blackberries, defrosted and drained

(You can also use 6 cups of fresh blackberries, or 1 (16-ounce) package frozen blackberries and 3 cups of fresh blackberries)

To make the crust and topping-

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Grease a 9 x 13-inch backing pan with butter or cooking spray and set aside.  Zest two lemons.  Measure out the sugar onto a clean work surface.  Rub the lemon zest into the sugar with a bench scraper or the back of a spoon.  Rubbing the zest into the sugar will release oils from the zest and create a lemon scented sugar.

Combine lemon sugar, flour, salt and butter in an electric mixer fit with a paddle attachment.  Beat the ingredients on medium speed until the mixture looks dry and crumbly.

Reserve 1 1/2 cups of the crust mixture to use as the topping.  Press the remaining mixture into the bottom of the pan.  Bake the crust for 12 to 15 minutes until it is golden brown.  Let cool for 10 minutes while you make the filling.

To make the filling-

Whisk the eggs in a large bowl.  Add the sugar, sour cream, flour and salt.  Gently fold in the blackberries.  Spoon the mixture evenly over the crust.  You may have to distribute the blackberries evenly around.

Sprinkle the reserved crust mixture evenly over the filling.  Bake for 45 to 55 minutes until the top is lightly browned.  Cool for 1 hour before slicing.

**If you’re using frozen berries, be sure to defrost and drain the excess liquid.  Place the frozen berries on a plate in the refrigerator overnight.  They’re defrosted and ready for bar baking!