“The green lasted on the hills far into June before the grass turned yellow. The heads of the wild oats were so heavy with seed that they hung over on their stalks. The little springs trickled on late in the summer. The range cattle staggered under their fat and their hides shone with health. It was a year when the people of the Salinas Valley forgot the dry years.”
East of Eden, John Steinbeck
I love June. The explosion of summer fruit has arrived! Peaches, nectarines and plums, I want them all. Melons, grapes, cherries and berries, it’s so good. This is a perfect recipe to use up an overabundance of seasonal fruit and any jars of last years’ jam. No one will have a clue that you are cleaning out the pantry with these lush bar cookies. This is such a no-fail recipe. I’ve made strawberry with strawberry jam, apricot with apricot jam and for this batch, nectarines with apricot jam. I really want to try plum with plum jam and a batch with mixed fruit, maybe apricot and peach. Baking with ripe, seasonal fruit doesn’t get any better than these Jammy Fruit Bars.
This recipe makes a big, big batch of crunchy topped, jam and fruit filled bars. The recipe is adapted from this Epicurious recipe. The genius of this recipe is using both jam and fresh fruit for the filling. Lemon juice adds interest to the sweet jammy filling. Updating the recipe with browned butter and malted milk powder makes for an intensely flavored crust and topping. There is not enough malted milk power to notice, just enough to deepen the flavor of the browned butter. Toasted sliced almonds and a sprinkle of demerara sugar add a pleasing crunch to the topping. These Jammy Fruit Bars are quite irresistible.
|Crust and Topping|
|3/4C||white, whole wheat flour|
|1/3C||malted milk powder|
|1t||fine grain sea salt|
|1/2C||sliced almonds, toasted is best|
|16oz||fruit jam, apricot|
|4C||ripe fruit, cut in small pieces, nectarines|
- Heat the oven to 350°. Line a 9”x13” baking pan with parchment.
- Prepare the browned butter by melting the butter in a saucepan or skillet with a light colored or shiny interior on medium heat. At first the butter may sputter for a bit as the milk solids cook. Gently swirl the pan until the milk solids are a warm toasty brown at the bottom of the pan. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, mix together the flours, sugars, malted milk powder, baking powder and sea salt. Make sure there are no lumps of malted milk powder or brown sugar. Remove the bowl from the stand mixer and pour in all the browned butter. Scrape the pan clean, adding all the browned butter and toasted milk solids to the bowl. Return the bowl to the stand mixer and mix the ingredients together. When the butter is thoroughly incorporated into the dry ingredients add the egg to the bowl and mix again, just until the egg is incorporated into the dough. Place the mixing bowl in the refrigerator while making the fruit filling.
- In a large saucepan add all the filling ingredients, jam, fruit, lemon juice and cornstarch. Cook briefly on medium heat, stirring until thickened and no visible traces of cornstarch remain. Do not bring to a boil.
- Press 2/3 of the dough firmly into the prepared baking pan. Make sure the dough in the corners and edges are of the same thickness as the middle of the pan. Pour the filling on top of the crust and spread evenly across the surface of the pan. Sprinkle the remaining 1/3 dough across the top of the jam. Top with the sliced almonds and demerara sugar. Bake for 45 minutes or until the jam is bubbling up through the topping and the bars are a toasty brown on top. To cut into bars, let cool for two hours, until the pan is cool to touch. The bars can be eaten while warm, if scooped and served like cobbler.
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