; Supermarket Serenade: "Summer Blowout" Blueberry Orange Bars

Monday, July 14, 2008

"Summer Blowout" Blueberry Orange Bars

Supermarkets and farmer's markets are usually overflowing with fresh berries this time of year. More often than not supermarkets are offering "buy one pint get one free" deals when berries are plentiful so it's a great time to stock up.

I will usually use one pint and freeze the other-as is-not washed. I wash them once I thaw them since when frozen wet ice crystals often form on the berries and once thawed they do not seem to work as well for baking recipes. If you do prefer to wash them first (which I'll admit I sometimes do just so I can eat them frozen right from the freezer) just be sure to let them dry completely before trying to freeze them.

Tonight is my book group meeting and I wanted to bring something sweet along.

We're reading: Summer Blowout by Claire Cook (Of "Must Love Dogs" fame). It's a cute beach novel-great vacation read. We are reading it because one of the members of my book group: "The Women Not in Need of Botox Book group" was fortunate enough to win an essay contest and won signed copies of the book for all the club members and a phone interview with Claire at our book club meeting. I'm not sure what she wrote to win, but I'm told there was some mention of an unfortunate incident last summer when I had a bat land in my often "bat's nest looking head of hair" and then it bit my wrist when I swatted it away. Not to worry, I have since had a complete series of rabies shots - so if I should find myself face to face with a rabid raccoon I'm ready. But I digress. Blueberry-Orange bars are what I came up with as a refreshing "Summer Blowout" treat.

Blueberry-Orange Bars

1 1/4 cups plus 3 tablespoons flour
1/3 cup confectioner's sugar plus additional for dusting
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon orange zest
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, chilled and cut into tablespoons
2 tablespoon sour cream
1/2 teaspoon orange extract
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 large egg yolks
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
1 cup fresh (not frozen) blueberries

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly spray a 9x9 inch baking dish with non-stick spray. Fill a large bowl halfway up with ice cubes and water.

Combine 1 1/4 cups of the flour, the confectioner's sugar and 1 teaspoon of the orange zest in a food processor. Add the butter, sour cream and orange extract; pulse until the mixture comes together in a ball.

With lightly floured hands, press the dough into the baking dish. Use a small rolling pin if you have one or use an orange to roll the dough into an even layer. Bake in the center of the preheated oven for 15-20 minutes or until lightly browned on the edges.

Meanwhile, in a medium sized sauce pan whisk together the sugar, salt, egg yolks, milk, remaining orange zest and the orange juice; cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until slightly thickened about 8 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and place the pot into the bowl with ice water stirring until cooled. Stir in the blueberries.

Pour the the blueberry mixture into the partially cooked crust and bake for an additional 25-30 minutes or until custard is firm and edges are golden brown. Cool in the refrigerator. When completely cooled, cut into squares and dust lightly with confectioner's sugar.

Yield: 16 squares


Jenny said...

Oh man Veronica, these look so tasty with those beautiful bright blueberries!

Lisa said...

They look great! I have bookclub tonight and am getting ready to have it at my house (cleaning, yuck!). I like your bookclub name:)

Grace said...

i've never seen a dessert quite like this, and i like it! very nice summer treat. :)

Veggie Mom said...

Veronica: I love oranges and I LOVE blueberries, so this recipe will do the trick! BTW, YOU'RE A WINNER in the Great Pop'rs Giveaway! Please get in touch with me at veggiemom@poprs.com, so we can get your contact info and ship you a complete set of Pop'rs--All Eight Flavors. Congratulations!

Aggie said...

Love the idea of using an orange to roll out the dough - very creative and resourceful ; )

I might have to break out of my comfort zone and give these a try...I'm not much of a baker, so certain things scare me!

Your blueberry picture is beautiful!!

Bridgett said...

I should be in a book club as I love to read. I bet you guys have a blast! The blueberries look amazing in the bars. A perfect treat for a gathering.

Veronica said...

Thanks, Jenny..I really love blueberries-I love all berries in fact.

Thanks, Lisa-hope your bookclub meeting went well. We actually named ourselves that 10 years ago when we go together...not sure the name still applies-if you know what I mean!

Grace-thanks for stopping by!

Veggie Mom! How cool, I love winning prizes and I can't wait to try pop'rs-they sound interesting.

Aggie, these were easy so go ahead and try!

Prudy said...

Veronica-Your recipes look so good and I just have to say AGAIN that your photos are so fabulous. Teach me, you jedi photographer.

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

Those bars look terribly tempting! Really scrumptious!



Clumbsy Cookie said...

Everything with blueberries looks so good and summery! The texture of your bars looks great!

Stephanie said...

OMGosh. This looks fantastic, along with the next few recipes and I have only been here one minute. I need to get back to looking. Thanks SO much for stopping by. I will have to visit everyday now. Love your blog!!!! And I LOVE the supermarket too. That's where I spend all my money. Thank goodness I have a husband who picks out and buys my shoes because I don't have money leftover from my trips to the grocery store!!!

Robin Sue said...

Great looking dessert. I have some berries I need to do something with, now I know what!! No sir, you really didn't get bit by a bat, did you? That had to be a funny story, but a bit scary too.

Amy BB said...

As a member of the "bat-hair" book group, I got to taste these blueberry orange bars. They taste as good as they look. Veronica, I'm loving your blog.

Veronica said...

Prudy, the only photo advice I can offer is I take a lot of pictures and hope one turns out ok enough-I honestly can't really even figure out how to change most of the settings on the camera I have to ask my son!

Thank you, Rosa and Clumbsy cookie!

Stephanie-I realize it's a sickness, but the supermarket is fun.

Veronica said...

Robin Sue-yes, true story! I was gardening at dusk on a really humid night and my hair was extra bat's nest like and he just made himself at home. Curly hair is a curse.

Amy BB!! You came by...thank you!!

Paula said...

I've not seen this combo before, and boy oh boy does it look good! Yum!

Amy said...

MMM these look so good! I want to try them.