Thursday, June 2, 2016

Peach Pie Bars

         Summer is almost upon us and you know what that means? If you think I am talking about the extreme heat we are going to feel you would be wrong. Instead I am talking about all of the lovely fruit that is available at the market. To me there is nothing better than  fresh fruit when it is hot outside. I love all kinds of fruit and I especially love peaches. Not only do they remind me of home, you know Georgia is the peach state, but also of my family. I grew up eating lots of fruit. Not only is it sweet and delicious but it is good for you. It is true what they say, fruit is nature's candy and I love candy.

   Every year one of the local farms hosts a festival for a couple of weekends in May where you can pick your own peaches off their trees. I try and go if possible because nothing beats really fresh fruit. At Schnepf Farms not only can you take the whole family out for a good time but you can pick your own produce. I think it is wonderful when you know exactly where your food comes from. Any way back to the peaches.

    I was late in going this year but I was still able to find some good peaches. I thought about what I wanted to do with them once I brought them home and then it came to me. Peach pie bars. I am not really good at making pies, maybe because I hardly ever make them but I figured baking them into bar form would work just as well. They would be easy to eat with your hands, they would be easy to transport, and if you wanted to put ice cream on top of bars for dessert you could. Vanilla ice cream on top of a warm peach bar is heavenly.

    I think I made a good choice. I will eventually make more pies because I do need to practice my skill but I just was not feeling it this time. Something always goes wrong with my pies when I make them. These bars were easy to make and did not take a lot of time but they were very tasty. In fact, I have already made them three times. I think they only took me about an hour to make from start to finish. If I had made a traditional pie it would have taken longer. I love how they turned out and will be making them with different fruit in the future. They are perfect to take your next family picnic or even pack in your lunch. I hope you give these a try next time you are craving pie but do not actually want to make a pie.

Peach Pie Bars
Melissa DeWees
For the filling
  1. 2 1/2 c of fresh sliced peaches
  2. 1 tsp. fresh lemon juice
  3. 1 tsp. vanilla
  4. 1/2 c brown sugar
  5. 1 tsp. cinnamon
  6. 1/2 tsp. nutmeg
  7. 1 T butter
  8. 3/4 tsp. corn starch
For the crust
  1. 2 c flour
  2. 1 tsp. baking powder
  3. 1/2 c sugar
  4. 1/4 c brown sugar
  5. 1/4 tsp. salt
  6. 1/2 tsp. nutmeg
  7. 1 stick of room temperature butter
  8. 1 tsp. vanilla
  9. 1 egg, room temperature
  10. 2 T heavy cream

  • Preheat the oven to 350 F
  • Line a 9x9 pan with parchment paper for easy lifting and spray with Pam or other cooking spray
Directions for the filling
  • Melt the butter in a pan on the stove over medium heat
  • Mix the lemon juice and the vanilla in with the peaches
  • Add the peaches to the pan with brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and stir all together.
  • Cook for until the peaches start to break down about 8 minutes and then add the corn starch. Stir all together and continue to cook for about another minute or so until the filling begins to thicken.
  • Remove from heat and set aside.
Directions for the crust
  • While the filling is cooking start the crust.
  • In a bowl of electric mixer add the butter and the sugars together and beat until light and fluffy.
  • In a separate bowl mix together the flour, baking powder, salt and nutmeg.
  • Add the egg to the butter mixture and mix until combined, then add the heavy cream and mix
  • Add the flour mixture and mix until just combined.
  • The dough will be a little sticky but that is okay.
  • Divide the dough in half and press one half into the bottom of prepared pan.
  • Prick the dough all of over the pan so it does not puff up a lot.
  • Bake for 12 minutes and the remove from oven and cool for 5 minutes.
Dough after mixed
Dough before baking
Crust after baked for 12 minutes
Directions for the bar assembly
  • Add the filling to the top of the crust and spread evenly over the pan
  • Crumble remaining dough over the top of the filling as evenly as possible.
  • You will see the filling through the dough but that is okay because it will spread over the top when baking.
  • Bake for 35 minutes.
  • Cool before cutting into bars for at least 30 minutes.
  • Enjoy either plain or with ice cream.

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