Blueberry Crumb Bars with Rosemary Crust

Tuesday, July 30

blueberry crumb bars with rosemary crust | une gamine dans la cuisine


I grew up listening to my mom's old records (and cassette tapes) of Jacques Brel, The Mamas & The Papas, Françoise Hardy, and Simon & Garfunkel - maybe a little Neil Diamond too. Each song felt like a secret treasure to my young, eager, ears. At the wise age of six I was utterly mesmerized by Françoise's clear, sometimes melancholy, voice, and lush lyrics. "Dream a Little Dream of Me," as sung by Mama Cass, was pure perfection- oh, how I wanted to know what it felt like to be so much in love that I'd ask someone to keep me in their dreams (and what do birds sound like when they sing in sycamore trees?). "Ne Me Quitte Pas" was deliciously heart wrenching (although the more recent version by Emilíana Torrini is equally haunting).

My favourite songs were, and always will be, anything sung by Simon & Garfunkel.  "Scarborough Fair," in particular, conjured up beautifully wistful images in my overactive imagination. Even now, "Scarborough Fair" makes me think of a blustery day (maybe in early autumn?). It's a surreal, strange weather kind of late afternoon, when heavy clouds can be seen racing across the ground, outlined by a reticent sun. Someone somewhere is trying to remember something on the grounds of an abandoned carnival set just outside a thick forest of trees...not the shady kind of carnival, an old-school carnival - with elaborate carousel horses, and swans. Where vendors wearing tweed vests would hand out cigars and women still held parasols, and didn't yet know the meaning of self-consciousness. Parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme - I love each and every one. Not only for their ability to heighten the flavour of food, but for the unexpected beauty their presence brings to a rich, tapestry-like song.

Rosemary is a beloved herb, so I was overjoyed when this recipe turned out to be even better than I'd anticipated!



blueberry crumb bars with rosemary crust | une gamine dans la cuisine



If you love the woodsy scent and piney flavour of rosemary, I know you will adore these bars. If you're still on the fence about using herbs in a sweet pastry, you can dial down the amount (the recipe includes measurements for both). Personally I think blueberries and rosemary were made for each other.


The crust, topping, and filling are also infused with lemon (of course!). The lemon helps keep the bars from straying into the too-sweet territory - and citrus, by default, gives everything a fresh, airy ambiance. This recipe is practically necessary (I would like to say it must be made, but being bossy leaves a bad taste in my mouth). It's still summer - have fun, enjoy the harvest of fresh fruit that's readily available, be inspired by your favourite songs, and don't be afraid to allow sweets & savories to mingle - their love children are quite tasty.



blueberry crumb bars with rosemary crust | une gamine dans la cuisine



Blueberry Crumb Bars with Rosemary Crust
makes about 30-34 bars

for the crust and crumb
3/4 cup granulated sugar
grated zest from one lemon (about 1 Tablespoon)
2 Tablespoons fresh rosemary, finely chopped {Note: I Love rosemary so I wanted the flavour to be very pronounced. If you prefer, you may use less. 1 Tablespoon should still suffice.}
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
8 ounces (that's 2 sticks) unsalted butter, cold and cut into cubes
1 egg, lightly beaten

for the filling
1 cup blueberry preserves
3 1/2 cups fresh blueberries
1/4 cup granulated sugar (use more or less depending on the sweetness of the berries)
1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice
3 teaspoons cornstarch

method
Preheat the oven to 375 F. Line a 9x13-inch pan with foil, shiny side up - leave a slight overhang along the edges (this will make the bars easier to remove from the pan). Butter the foil.

Prepare the crust & crumb topping: In a large mixing bowl, combine the sugar, lemon zest, and chopped rosemary. Use your fingers to rub the zest and rosemary into the sugar until it becomes moist and aromatic. Whisk in the flour, baking powder, and salt. Add the cold cubes of butter and the beaten egg - use a pastry cutter to work the butter and egg into the dry ingredients. The mixture will be very crumbly but should hold together when pinched.

Press about half the mixture into the bottom of prepared pan. Spread the blueberry jam over the crust - leaving about a 1/2-inch bare border around the edges.

In a separate large bowl, combine the blueberries, sugar, lemon juice, and cornstarch. Gently stir everything together - taking care not to crush the berries. Distribute the berry mixture evenly over the blueberry jam and crust (it's okay if the berries touch the edges of the pan).

Sprinkle the remaining dough mixture over the berries. Use large and small clumps - it will make the bars more rustic and interesting. :)

Bake for 45 - 55 minutes or until the crumb topping turns very light brown - the berries should be bubbling slightly too.

Remove the pan from the oven and place it onto a cooling rack. Cool completely (about 5 hours) before slicing. Once the pan has reached room temperature you can place it in the refrigerator to cool off faster. Use the foil overhang to lift the bars out of the pan.

recipe inspired by smitten kitchen

39 comments:

  1. Oh I haven't listened to Simon & Garfunkel in too long, but now I know what my afternoon playlist will be. If only I had a few of these bars to keep me company! I always love the way the scent of rosemary lingers on my hands after I pick a few stems, so I know I'd fall for these at first bite :).

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  2. Heavenly! I love blackberries bars, but have never tried this combination...

    Cheers,

    Rosa

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  3. If I was going to use rosemary in a sweet recipe, it would definitely be with blueberries and lemon. What a wonderful combination!

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  4. Ah, the crumble bar...one of summer's musts as a baker and lover of berries and cherries. Love your twist on this old favorite with lemon and rosemary, Valerie! And, your photography is just lovely. Our mothers listened to the same music. I grew up with those same magical lyrics and sounds. And, I'm so grateful for it. Thanks for sharing!

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  5. Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme...just like I heard it yesterday!!!! Love your bars and the memories and the fresh herb rosemary which is one of my favorites;)

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  6. My rosemary plant is going crazy right now so I love this idea! I'm not usually adventurous enough to combine savory herbs in dessert, but these bars sound incredible :)

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  7. Love to hear about your fond music memories. I love too how music has the ability to transport us. I've sadly yet to try herbs in sweet crust but you've inspired me to try! Beautiful!

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  8. Your mom liked the same music I did:-)
    In fact I still love my S and G CDs..Jacques Brel:-) etc..
    These bars look and sound divine.Blueberry preserves are on my fun list tomorrow..so maybe:-) ...

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  9. I am such a fan of bar cookies! Loving your version with the fruit and herb combination - simply perfect. These are must make! BTW - my mouth is watering right now Valerie!

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  10. I love all the fruit and herb combos I've been seeing, and the rosemary sounds perfect here!

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  11. I think these sound incredible Valerie - love the combination of sweet and herbs and your photos are picture perfect!

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  12. These look so delicious! Feel like popping one straight from the picture!

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  13. These are gorgeous!! The rosemary is such a lovely touch :)

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  14. The rosemary addition was genius Valerie. I adore these bars, they look so incredible. That crumble topping is calling, no screaming, my name!

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  15. I'm listening to your playlist right now :) and I must say that I love the addition of rosemary.

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  16. I really love the idea of using rosemary for the crust, such a unique idea. I bet it smells amazing too!

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  17. Rosemary in the crust... lovin' this! Simon & Garfunkel are awesome. I love everything they ever produced. Listening to songs, my imagination used to lead me to places similar to what you describe ... I miss those images. Getting old sucks! :-D

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  18. This recipe is so you, so creative.
    Rosemary in the crust is brilliant.

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  19. I love simon and garfunkel! and the mamas and the papas :) these bars are wonderful! i can just imagine the deliciousness of rosemary and blueberries together - definitely need to try these!

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  20. Gorgeous. I love Scarborough fair too, though it was the movie Almost Famous that introduced me to Simon and Garfunkel. I love rosemary in sweet recipes, this looks wonderful

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  21. i love the idea of rosemary crust - so dreamy..

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  22. I bet blueberries with a rosemary crust taste great together. Love this idea.

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  23. As always, I am left drooling at your posts and secretly hoping I have all the ingredients so I don't have to wait to make what you've presented!

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  24. This is such a great idea! Unusual, but it sounds delicious!

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  25. I honestly never thought of blueberries and rosemary together but I'm thinking now we could become great friends! Yum, these look amazing!

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  26. Oooh, interesting! I've never tried rosemary in sweets.

    And Simon and Garfunkel are comforting, aren't they? I have so many of their songs in my "most played" list. :)

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  27. I have never tried blueberries and rosemary together. Normally I use them separately. This would be a new experience for me. Thanks for the recipe.

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  28. The blueberry crumb bars with rosemary crust were lovely! I used about 1T of rosemary as you suggested because I wasn't too sure how I would like it, but a full 2T would have been just lovely. The rosemary comes through with an almost lavendar taste and then blooms into rosemary as it lingers. I'd never heard of herbs in baked goods before, but this will make me look out for other similar ideas to see how they work!

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  29. @Gina Gadd: I'm so happy you liked the recipe!! Isn't the rosemary marvelous! : ) Thank you for dropping by.

    P.S. Strawberries and thyme would be fun to work with too! xo

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  30. I loooove rosemary, and can only imagine it will be heavenly in these bars! Mmm...

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  31. OH! I love the rosemary combination with blueberries. I too grew up on my parent's vinyl records and could listen to Simon and Garfunkel for days!

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  32. LOVE the idea of rosemary with blueberries! Absolutely brilliant and pinning now. Also, keep forgetting to tell you love the new look!

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  33. I made them with plums - these crumb bars where so delicious! I can truly recommend this recipe

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  34. @Kás: What a brilliant idea to use plums! I'm so happy you liked the recipe. :)

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  35. How will these do for travel? I'd like to make a batch to take with us on a weekend visit with friends. If I make them Friday, pack them up and tote them along, will they keep well until Saturday/Sunday? Regardless will be trying this week. Thank you for sharing this delightful recipe!

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  36. @Beeje: The bars will definitely hold their own for two-three days. Be sure to stash them, well-covered, in the fridge until you're on the road. (They're actually more flavorful on the second day!) :)

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  37. Thank you for the reply, Valerie! I've figured out what to pack them in and will put them in the top of the cooler for the road trip. I just know these are going to be a big hit next weekend!

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  38. Made these for a Dinner Club and served them with Jeni's Splendid ice cream in Brambleberry Crisp. Mine came out looking exactly like the pictures on your blog and smelled SO wonderful when mixing the lemon and rosemary in the sugar as well as when baking. I thought this was a fun yet elegant dessert to serve to guests, and really enjoyed that they could be made ahead for a party.

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  39. Oh, Amy! I bet the bars were sublime with Jeni's brambleberry crisp ice cream!! Brilliant.

    I wish someone could develop a scent that captures the aroma of lemon-rosemary sugar. ahhh.... :)

    Thanks for dropping by and leaving a review. xo

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Thanks for visiting, and for taking the time to read through my ramblings!
If you have a recipe comment or question, I'd love to hear from you.

Happy Baking!
♥ Valerie

 

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