Berry Bars

Summer is a time of celebrations. And no matter if it’s a barbecue or picnic for a family get-together or just the occasion of friends gathering for a little repartee, things always go better with a delicious dessert.

Summer also is the tastiest time of the year when it comes to desserts because of all the seasonal and sweet fresh fruit that is available.

Here’s a light and easy summer dessert recipe from pastry chef and author, Paula Shoyer, which features raspberries and blueberries, two fruits that are readily available in this neck of the woods.

Shoyer, author of “The Kosher Baker: Over 160 Dairy-free Recipes from Traditional to Trendy,” says “Summer brings occasions when you may be baking for many people and need to whip up a tasty dessert with little more notice than your neighbor saying to come on by for a last-minute cook-out. Summer dessert baking does not have to mean spending hours in a hot kitchen.  As a busy wife and mother, I know how valuable time can be. I have created a fast and easy recipe that uses fresh seasonal summer fruits that pack and travel with ease for a picnic or party — if they last that long.”

Berry Bars
This easy recipe turns classic bar cookies into handheld two-bite pies that can be easily packed into a picnic hamper.  They hold up well, perfect for an afternoon in the sun or an evening concert.
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
1 cup (2 sticks) parve margarine, frozen for 15 minutes, plus extra for greasing pan and parchment
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 large egg yolk
2 cups fresh blueberries
2 cups fresh raspberries
¼ cup sugar
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9-by-13-inch pan with some margarine. Place a piece of parchment in the pan that is large enough to go up the sides and hang over a few inches. Grease the top and sides of the parchment.
To make the crust: Place the flour and sugar into the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade. Process for 10 seconds. Cut the margarine into pieces and add to the bowl. Process or use your hands to mix for another 10 seconds. Add the vanilla and egg yolk and then process or mix until the dough just comes together.
Divide the dough in half, making one piece a little bigger. Wrap both pieces in plastic; flatten and place the smaller one in the freezer. Take the larger piece and break it into pieces and scatter over the parchment. Press the pieces into the pan as evenly as you can. Place in the oven and bake for 15 minutes.  Remove from the oven and let cool for 15 minutes.
Meanwhile place the raspberries and blueberries into a large bowl and squeeze with your hands to break up the raspberries.
Add the sugar and flour and squeeze together. This part is fun, but you may still want to use plastic gloves as I did.  Remove the other dough piece from the freezer and, using the large holes of a box grater, grate the remaining dough over the filling.
Bake for 50 minutes, or until the top starts to look golden brown. Let cool. Trim off about ¼ inch of the sides, if desired, and eat them immediately, and then cut into squares or long bars. Serve warm or cold.
Yield: 35 square bars.
Note: To learn more about Paula Shoyer, visit her website, www.PaulasPastry.com, and  www.kosherbaker.blogspot.com.

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