I’ve been eating a lot of blueberries lately. I love how they stain my tongue and teeth and always taste good – even when they’re a bit sour or drooping and wrinkled with overripeness. And while I don’t necessarily believe that I have synesthesia, it’s one of the only foods out there that tastes blue to me. Pure, wholesome, blue.
I spent the last week of March in New York with Nathan and we had a blast. We ate SO MUCH delicious food, but I admit I missed the quiet thrill and focus of being in my own kitchen. I longed to play with some butter, sugar, and flour. Itching to work with my hands again, this process-oriented yet simple recipe does the trick – especially since all three components of this recipe are some iteration of the aforementioned ingredients. But hey, that’s what I love about baking.
It starts with the crust, made with just three ingredients and Ruhlman’s handy 3:2:1 pate brisee recipe. Seriously, if you’re into baking and want to navigate the fierce frontier of a life without recipes, study Ruhlman’s ratios. Cold butter. Minimal handling. Luscious, flaky dough.
Then there’s the blueberry filling. Gooey, tart, perfectly sweet. The corn starch gives it that wonderfully glossy look and thickness. Topped with the pecan crumble, loaded with more butter and some brown sugar, it’s the perfect handheld dessert.It might seem like a lot, but the process yields some of the best handheld slabs of pie you ever did eat.
If you make this recipe at home, be sure to let me know how it goes in the comments!
Blueberry Pie Bars with Pecan Crumble
Simple yet perfect pie crust topped with gooey, luscious blueberry filling and a melt-in-your-mouth pecan crumble. It's the perfect handheld dessert for pretty much any occasion.
Pate Brisee (basic pie crust)
- 12 oz flour all purpose
- 8 oz cold unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch slices
- 4 oz water the colder the water, the better
- 1 tsp salt if using salted butter, omit this ingredient
- 1 tbsp sugar optional. i like a more savory pie crust but this will add a little sweetness
- 2 cups frozen blueberries
- 1 cup sugar
- 5 tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 1/4 cup water or more as needed
- 2 tbsp corn starch
- 2/3 cup pecans chopped
- 3/4 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 4 tbs unsalted butter chilled, cut into pieces
- 1/2 cup all purpose flour
- pinch salt
Start by making the pie crust. Add dry ingredients to a medium bowl and whisk to combine.
Using two knives or a pastry cutter, cut the butter into the flour mixture until pea-sized clumps form. You can use your hands, just be sure to work quickly. We want the butter to be as cold as possible to create those flaky layers.
Slowly add your water until the dough just comes together into a ball. Transfer the dough into a 9x13 baking sheet and press the dough out gently with your fingers, forming an even crust along the pan. Press plastic wrap along the dough to prevent it from drying out. Chill for 30 minutes.
While the dough chills, start your filling. In a medium saucepan, combine blueberries, sugar, and water and bring to a simmer on high heat. Once the sugar evaporates, reduce to a simmer and slowly whisk in corn starch and lemon juice. Let the sauce reduce for 20-30 minutes, or until it heavily coats the back of a spoon. Remove from heat and let cool. The mixture will continue to thickened once cooled and once baked in the oven.
Meanwhile, make the crumble. Mix dry ingredients together, plus pecans. Using your fingers, work in butter until large clumps form.
Set your oven to 350 degrees. Remove the crust from the fridge and bake for 15 minutes. Spread the cooled blueberry filling over the surface of the crust. Evenly distribute topping. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until the edges of the crust are golden brown.