It looks like I’m baking my way through the entire Spring section of Rustic Fruit Desserts by Cory Schreiber and Julie Richardson. How did that happen? I’m not exactly sure because it was definitely not something I planned on doing. This is one of those baking projects that just took on a life of it’s own. I should mention that I have a thing for rustic fruit desserts. On the top of the page next to the recipe title, Cherry Almond Bars, I wrote, “I am SO making these!” Honestly I don’t usually write myself messages in cookbooks. But, hey -why not!? It’s nice to receive words of encouragement, even if they are from yourself.
We have a cherry tree in our garden and I’ve shared here that the birds get all our cherries- way before they are ripe, when you don’t feel like competing for them. This year the cherries on the tree were tiny green balls when we left for vacation and when we came home they had all disappeared. I actually prefer not knowing the truth about the fate of our cherries. That’s what farmer’s markets and roadside stands are for -serious cherry growers that are willing to put up a fight to keep their cherries from the birds, at least until they are ripe and can be sold.
I made these cherry almond bars to bring to a picnic lunch with my family over the holiday weekend. Except for taking the time to pit the cherries, this is a quick and easy recipe that travels well to a picnic. They are a nice alternative to lemon bars or brownies, especially during cherry season, but frozen cherries could also be used and if they’re already pitted, so much the better.
Adapted from Rustic Fruit Desserts by Cory Schreiber and Julie Richardson.
- For the Cherry Filling
- 3 cups(18 ounces) cherries, pitted and halved
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
- Zest and juice of 1 lemon
- For the crust and topping
- 1&1/4 cups whole wheat pastry flour
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
- 1 cup(4 ounces) sliced almonds
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 3/4 cup(6 ounces) cold unsalted butter
- 1 egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Preheat the oven to 350F.
- Spray a 9" square metal baking pan with baking spray.
- To Make the Cherry Filling
- Stir together the cherries, sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, sea salt, lemon zest and lemon juice in a medium saucepan. Place saucepan over medium-high heat.
- Bring to a boil, stir occasionally, cooking for about 1 minute or until thickened.
- To Make the Crust and Topping
- Place the flour, brown sugar, almonds and salt in the bowl of a food processor, pulse a few times to combine.
- Add the butter and pulse until the mixture forms crumbs.
- Add the egg and vanilla, pulse until the mixture comes together and looks slightly moist.
- Press two-thirds of this mixture in the bottom of the prepared pan.
- Pour in the cherry filling.
- Press the remaining crust/topping mixture over the cherry filling.
- Bake on a rack centered in the oven for 30-35 minutes, or until the cherry filling is bubbling and the topping is lightly browned.
- Cool for at least 1 hour before cutting into 12 bars.
- The bars will keep for 3-4 days in an airtight storage container.