Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Stone-Fruit Bars: Not something that the Flintstones would serve, but a dessert using cherries, peaches, nectarines or plums

Stone-Fruit Bars: The name made me think it was something the Flintstones would have eaten for dessert when they invited Mr. Slate over for supper.
   But the stone fruit in Stone-Fruit Bars (click for the recipe), of course, refers to the fact that any type of fruit with a pit or stone such as cherries, peaches, nectarines or plums can be used in the bars. For that matter, any combination of stone fruits can be used.
   When I made these, I used cherries when they were first coming into season in June.
   The bars were delicious, with a chewy crust made of chopped nuts or rolled oats covered by a substantial fruit filling.
   I was most impressed with the fact the bars tasted like cherry pie. I highly recommend serving them with vanilla ice cream to get the full pie-taste effect.
   While I used cherries, I’m sure any type of stone fruit will work very well. Peaches, nectarines and plums are at their glorious best right now, just begging to be used in this dessert.
   The crust is made by combining chopped walnuts, pecans, almonds or hazelnuts, or old-fashioned rolled oats, with whole-wheat flour, sugar and salt in a food processor and pulsing until the nuts, if using, are finely ground. Cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces, are added and pulsed until well incorporated.
   A mixture of egg, canola oil, vanilla and almond extract is whisked together, then added to the food processor with the motor running. When the mixture begins to clump, it is ready. A half cup of the crust dough is mixed with more chopped nuts and is set aside for the topping.
   Four cups of chopped fruit, orange juice, sugar and cornstarch are combined in a large saucepan and simmered until the mixture is very thick. Two more cups of chopped fruit and vanilla are stirred in.
   The crust dough is put into a 9x13” baking dish and pressed in evenly. The fruit filling is spread over the crust, and reserved topping is sprinkled over.
   The bars are baked. When serving, be sure to add a scoop of vanilla ice cream to the plate.

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