Raspberry-Cherry Crumble Bars

Makes 36 ( 3 by 1 inch) Bars

1 3/4 cups ( 8 3/4 oz) unbleached all purpose flour
1 /34 cups old fashioned or quick oats ( not instant)
1 cup ( 8 oz) firmly packed light brown sugar
1/4 tsp salt
2 sticks ( 8 oz) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1 (16 oz) jar good quality seedless raspberry jam
1 cup ( 5 1/2 oz) dried sour cherries
Confectioners’ sugar for dusting

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and position an oven rack in the center. Line the baking pan with foil across the bottom and up the two long sides, then lightly coat with melted butter, oil or high-heat canola-oil spray.
Mix the crumble dough: Place the flour, oats brown sugar, and salt in the bowl of the stand mixer and beat on low speed until evenly mixed ( or place in the food processor and process until the mixture looks like wet sand and starts to form clumps. 5 to 6 minutes ( or process for 45  to 60 seconds, pausing to scrape down  once with the spatula).
Bake the bottom crust:Divide the dough in half. Pat one half into an even layer in the prepared pan. Set the other half aside. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until golden and crisp. Transfer ti a rack and cool for 20 minutes. Leave the oven on.
Make the filling: Empty the jar of jam into the medium bowl and stir well to break up any lumps. add the cherries and stir until well mixed and all the cherries are coated with jam. spread evenly over the cooled crust, all the way to the edges. sprinkle the remaining dough evenly over the filling.
Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until the the topping is golden brown and the filling is bubbling. Transfer to a rack and cool completely. 1 1/2 to 2 hours.
Unmold the cookies: To serve, run a thin knife or spatula around the edges of the pan to loosen any dough or filling. Lift the cookies out using the foil as handles and place on a cutting surface. Cut into 3 by 1 inch bars. Just before serving, use the fine mesh strainer to lightly dust confectioners sugar over the cookies.
Storing: Keep the bars in an air tight container between layers of parchment or waxed paper for up to 4 days at room temperature. Dust with confectioners sugar just before serving.
Getting Ahead: The bottom crust can be baked and the bars assembled (but not baked) and frozen in the pan for up to 6 weeks. Wrap tightly with two layers of plastic wrap reaching all the way around the pan. To bake, do not defrost,simply unwrap the pan and bake for a few extra minutes.

Note:
These bars are a template for your creativity in the kitchen. While this recipe is sure to please, you can use the dough as a strating point, then change the filling flavors to suit your tastes and the occasion. Use only jam in the center, and leave out the dried fruit, filling it with your favorite preserve. Or try a layer of quince paste, fig spread or poppy seed filling instead. Change the jam and fruit pairing to other tasty combinations such as apricot jam and snipped dried mango; orange marmalade with dried, sweet-tart cranberries, or cherry jam with snipped apricots.

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