Blueberry Pie Bars with Almond Streusel

Blueberry Pie Bars with Almond Streusel

Makes 12 generous servings


1/2 cup sugar

Zest from one large lemon

1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed

3 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 1/4 cups (2 1/2 sticks) cold butter, cubed

1 large egg

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

3/4 cup sliced natural almonds

4 1/2 cups fresh blueberries

1/2 cup sugar

1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch

Juice of one large lemon

Preheat the oven to 350F degrees.  Line a 9X13-inch baking pan with aluminum foil so that there is a 1-inch overhang on all sides.  Spray the foil with nonstick baking spray.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix the sugar with the lemon zest on medium speed, allowing the sugar to "crush" the zest and release the flavorful oils (this process should smell very lemon-y!), about 1 minute.  Add the brown sugar, flour, baking powder, and the salt to the bowl, and mix on low speed until well combined.

Add the butter to the bowl and mix at medium-low speed until the butter has been incorporated and has broken down into very small pieces.  Mix in the egg.

Remove half of the dough from the bowl and pat it into the bottom of the prepared baking pan.  Place the pan in the freezer to keep the dough cold during the next few steps.

Add the cinnamon and the almonds to the remaining dough in the bowl, and mix at medium-low speed until well combined (almonds will break down.)

In a large bowl, combine the blueberries, 1/2 cup sugar, cornstarch, and the lemon juice, stirring gently to mix.  Pour the blueberry mixture over the chilled dough layer, spreading to an even layer.  Sprinkle the remaining dough over the blueberry layer.

Bake the bars at 375F for 15 minutes.  Lower the oven to 350F and continue to bake until the top is golden brown and the blueberries are bubbling, about 30 minutes more.  Place the pan on a wire rack to cool completely before cutting into 12 bars.