Thursday, June 2, 2011

Strawberry Crumb Bars

I know I just posted a strawberry muffin recipe, but I feel the need to post this one too, that's how much I loved it.  You would not believe it based on the amount of strawberry pastries I like to make, but until I lived in Japan, I HATED strawberries.  The strawberries (ichigo) in Japan are so knock your socks off good and I wanted to get this recipe in for my friends in Japan before the strawberry season is past.  You will see good strawberries in Japan from about February until sometime in June (you might not see them again until the next January- since they are only local).  Occasionally, you will get some imports at Costco, but they just aren't the same.

This recipe is something I never would have thought to do on my own, in my life, I have only ever seen or tried Raspberry Crumb Bars (and they are usually made with raspberry jelly as the filling).  I will only use fresh fruit in my crumb bars from now on!!!

I have already made these twice and am planning on making them again this summer.  It took me a while to post because I'm not happy with the photos I got.  Comparing mine to those around the web, I'm slightly embarrassed, but hey, I'm trying and I think I'm getting better each time.  While looking around for photo tips, I came across this food photography book for sale by Matt Wright.  Guess what??? He is donating 100% of the profits to Japan earthquake relief.  If you are interested in food photography, check it out, it's a bit pricey, but worth it for the cause.

On to the recipe, which I found at Smells like home blog.

Oven: 375'

(This make a generous amount, 9 x 13 pan; if you want, cut the recipe in half for a 9x9 or 8x8 pan)
1 1/2 cups sugar (1 cup for crust, 1/2 cup for strawberries)
1 tsp baking powder
3 cups flour
1/4 tsp salt
zest of 1 lemon
1 cup (2 sticks) butter (I've had equally good results with unsalted and salted)
1 egg
4 cups strawberries, cut up into 1/4" cubes
4 tsp cornstarch
juice from 1 lemon

Preheat the oven to 375'.

1) In the mixer, with the dough hook attached, combine the flour, baking powder, and 1 cup sugar.   Then add the salt and lemon zest.  Finally, add butter (cut into tablespoon sized squares) and the egg, let mix until it is crumbly pea sized balls.

2) While the butter is cutting into the flour, cut up strawberries into small pieces.

3) In a medium sized bowl, combine the remaining 1/2 cup sugar, lemon juice, and cornstarch (it is pretty lemony, if you're not a huge fan of a lemon/strawberry flavor, use half of the juice from the lemon).  Add in strawberries and toss until coated.

4) Remove ~3/4 cup crumbs from flour mixture, set aside for crumb topping.  Press remaining dough into a greased 9 x 13 pan.  Remember to press up about 1/2" around the edges for a crust.

5) Spread strawberry mixture on top of the prepared dough, then sprinkle the remaining crumb mixture on top, pressing it down gently.

6) Bake for 45 minutes or until topping is golden brown.

These are soo good hot out of the oven!

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