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Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Blueberry Streusel Bars with Lemon Cream Filling

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My sister Julia is dating a rather wonderful guy, Nate. Seeing how Julia is not only my sister, but also my best friend, I'm naturally a little protective of her. So far, we haven't been able to find a fault with the guy. All except one.

He doesn't like dessert.

You don't have to spend much time on this site to understand my affection love passion for dessert. It runs in the family. Naturally, we find it a little disconcerting when we stumble upon someone who doesn't get excited about ice cream or brownies or cookies.

Even so, I like Nate. We all do. So we're willing to let the dessert thing slide...at least for now. And, it turns out it may not be an issue much longer. I made these blueberry streusel bars and brought them to a picnic and concert we attended at the Botanical Gardens here in St. Louis. I wasn't surprised when Nate grabbed one (he's always polite & smart enough to at least try all of my sweets ;))...but then I saw him take another a little bit later. With a sheepish grin he admitted that he liked the bars. I seized the opportunity and sent him home with about 6 of them piled in a few napkins. Two hours later, I received a text from none other than Nate reading, "So I didn't even get halfway home and those bars are gone."

Dare I say these bars are good enough to convert a non-sweets lover into one?

One Year Ago: Sour Cream Pancakes

Blueberry Streusel Bars with Lemon Cream Filling
seen on Tracey's Culinary Adventures

-3 cups all-purpose flour
-1 1/2 cups old fashioned oats
-1 1/3 cups packed light brown sugar
-1 tsp salt
-1 tsp baking powder
-1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
-1 large egg, separated
-14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk
-1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
-2 tsp lemon zest
-2 1/2 cups room-temperature blueberries

1. Preheat oven to 350F. Line a 13 x 9 inch pan with foil, leaving a bit of overhang on the sides. Spray the foil with cooking spray and set aside.
2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, oats, brown sugar, salt, and baking powder. Cut the butter into the mixture with a pastry blender or your fingers until pieces of butter are no longer visible. Set aside 2 cups of crumbs.
3. In a small bowl, whisk the egg white with a fork until broken up and foamy. Mix it into the crumb mixture and transfer to mixture into the prepared pan, pressing to form an even crust. Bake for 10-12 minutes, until lightly browned.
4. While crust is baking, whisk together the condensed milk, lemon juice, lemon zest, and egg yolk. Allow it to stand and thicken for 5 minutes.
5. Remove crust from oven and spread the blueberries over the crust. Drop spoonfuls of the lemon mixture over the blueberries, taking care not to crush the berries (the lemon layer doesn't have to completely cover the crust). Return to the oven and bake for 7-8 minutes.
6. Remove pan from oven and sprinkle reserved 2 cups of crumb mixture over the lemon layer, covering it completely. Bake for 25-30 minutes, until the filling is bubbling at the edges.
7. Allow pan to cool on a wire rack before cutting into bars. Store in refrigerator and serve cold.