Growing up back home in Denmark my father always had an elaborate garden with berry bushes, fruit trees, a vegetable garden and a green house. Needless to say he has always had a very green thumb. As for myself, I do well with herbs and I have tried my hand at growing tomatoes which turned out pretty good and this summer my blackberry bush actually gave me beautiful, juicy berries. The bush didn’t quite give me enough berries for these delicious Blackberry bars but it did give me about half of the amount I needed. I have to say, that there is something very satisfying about being able to use produce that you have grown yourself.
As for these gorgeous little bars they are a wonderful summer treat. I think they taste best when chilled and then cut up and served. The cake itself is soft, yet firm, a little sweet with a great crumb on top and the berries give a nice tartness to the cake.
Blackberry Bars (makes 16 bars)
Ingredients for crust and topping:
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (190 grams or 6.7 ounces)
3/4 cup sugar (160 grams or 5.6 ounces)
pinch of salt
zest of 1/2 lemon
3/4 cup unsalted butter, cold (12 tablespoons or 170 grams or 6.0 ounces)
Ingredients for filling:
2 large eggs
1 cup sugar (205 grams or 7.2 ounces)
1/2 cup plain greek yogurt or sour cream (135 grams or 4.8 ounces)
6 tablespoons all-purpose flour (52 grams)
pinch of salt
juice of 1/2 lemon
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
16 ounces fresh blackberries (453 grams), if using frozen berries thaw and drain of excess juices
Line a 9 x 9 inch (22 x 22 cm) pan with foil and spray lightly with baking spray. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (176 degrees C).
In the bowl of a food processor or electrical mixer, combine flour, sugar, salt and lemon zest. Give a quick stir to combine. Cut cold butter into 1/2 inch slices (1.3 cm), add to dry ingredients and pulse/mix until only small pieces of butter remain and the mixture is crumbly. Reserve 3/4 cup of mixture for topping the bars. Add the remaining mixture to prepared pan and gently press to form and even layer of crust at the bottom of the pan. Bake 12-15 minutes or until light golden. Let crust cool for 15 minutes before proceeding.
In a medium bowl combine eggs, sugar, yogurt (or sour cream), flour, salt, lemon juice and vanilla extract. Beat until smooth. Gently fold in the blackberries. Pour filling over baked crust and spread evenly. Sprinkle evenly with remaining 3/4 cup topping mixture. Bake for approximately 45 minutes or until the filling is set and the top is starting to brown a little. Let cool completely on a wire rack at room temperature. Chill in refrigerator before cutting into bars. Enjoy!