This is the season of outdoor parties, bbq’s and pool parties…all kinds of parties. I bring dessert to a lot of parties because that is what most people know I do and ask for, and I am all too happy to supply dessert.
And I try really hard to not keep a rotation of like five things I bring everywhere…I work to mix it up and bring seasonal, different and interesting things to parties that I haven’t brought somewhere before. This keeps it interesting for me and the guests – enter these blueberry buttermilk bars.These are a great option for travel and if you want to cut something up – that is not a brownie – put on a paper plate and not worry about remembering to bring a pan home.
The recipe comes from Dorie Greenspan’s Cookies book (again) though this is not a cookie. It her adaptation of buttermilk pie – a southern thing that I have never experienced before, but am thinking I should. The crust is super interesting, it incorporates cornmeal which I thought would be weird but wasn’t at all, in fact the texture and crunch it added was a great compliment to the smooth custard.
Every piece and every bite is packed with fresh blueberries totally screaming summertime. Basically, it’s like a pie but more convenient – no forks required, no serving spatula required…get what I am saying? Summer party perfection.
Blueberry buttermilk pie bars
- 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup cornmeal
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1/4 teaspoon sea or kosher salt
- 1 stick, cut into small cubes 8 tablespoons; 4 ounces; 113 grams cold unsalted butter, cut into 8 pieces
- 1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1 1/2 cups buttermilk
- 4 large eggs at room temperature
- 1/2 cup sugar
- Pinch sea or kosher salt
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
- 1 1/2 cup fresh blueberries
For the crust
Line an 8x8 inch baking pan with foil.
Put the flour, sugar, cornmeal, cornstarch and salt in a food processor and pulse a few times to blend. Add our cubes of butter a few at a time until you have a moist dough that forms big crumbs. Dump the dough into the baking dish and press into the bottom of the pan - as evenly as you can. .
Center a rack in the oven and preheat it to 350 degrees F. While the oven is preheating, put the dish in the freezer or fridge to keep the butter in it cold.
Bake the crust for 25 minutes, until it’s golden brown - and I mean golden, like, more than you would think for pre-baking. You want the crust crisp and able to hold up to a custard and the juice expelled from the blueberries, so make sure you cook it long enough. Put the pan on a cooling rack and cool it completely.
Keep the oven on or make sure to reheat it again to bake the bars.
For the filling
Place the cornstarch in a small bowl and pour over 1/4 cup of the buttermilk. Stir it until the cornstarch dissolves.
Whisk the eggs in a medium bowl until foamy. Add the sugar and immediately start whisking vigorously (you must beat sugar and eggs together quickly, or the sugar will “burn” the yolks and cause a film to form). Whisk in the salt and vanilla, then whisk in the slurry. When the slurry is fully incorporated, stir in the remainder of the buttermilk, followed by the melted butter. Scatter the blueberries over the crust and then pour on the topping. The blueberries will move all over the place when you pour the custard in, so try to push them back around to distribute evenly if you can, this can get annoying so don't sweat it.
Bake the bars for 42 to 45 minutes, until the topping is puffed all the way to the center, brown around the edges and firm everywhere. Transfer the pan to a rack and cool for 20 minutes at least. Pull the foil and lift out of the pan to finish cooling. Then cut into bars, plate them up and enjoy.