Former nuclear policy activist turned self-taught cook, Ina Garten is like a modern day Julia Child. The embodiment of casual elegance, she manages to make even the most complicated dishes seem effortless. Watching her on the Barefoot Contessa makes me want to climb into the tv so I can take part in one of her staged home parties with her gaggle of talented gay neighbors. (Seriously, who has that many gay neighbors? Oh right, it’s the Hamptons.) And Jeffrey, I mean c’mon- could he be any cuter? I can’t think of a better way to live out my later years than sipping wine on the terrace and nibbling on truffle mac and cheese. Yea, I’d say they have the life.
Needless to say, I’ve always been fan of Ina and her recipes. So despite my aversion to hot fruit (everyone has their quirks) I thought that her raspberry crumble bars deserved a taste test. Of course, they didn’t disappoint. With only a handful of ingredients, Ina manages to once again create a real crowd pleaser. Perhaps it’s her Paula Dean like use of butter, or her talent for simplicity, but either way, I’m happy with the results.
Raspberry Crumble Bars (modified from The Barefoot Contessa)
Yield: 9-12 bars
1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2-1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
10 to 12 ounces good raspberry jam, such as Hero
1/4 cup sliced almonds
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease a 9×9 square pan with butter (I use the wrappers). Sift the flour and salt together in a bowl and set aside. Place the butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and mix on medium speed just until combined. With the mixer on low, add the vanilla. Then add the dry ingredients on low until it almost comes together in a ball. Turn the dough out on a board. Lightly pat two-thirds of the dough evenly on the bottom of a 9-inch square baking pan and about 1/4-inch up the sides. Spread with the jam, leaving a 1/4-inch border. Break the remaining dough into small bits and distribute it on top of the jam, covering most of the surface. Sprinkle the almonds on top. Bake the bars for 45 minutes, until lightly browned. Cool completely and cut into 9 or 12 bars.
These raspberry crumble bars are a great dessert to make when you’re running low on time and ingredients. Crunchy shortbread crust with a sweet raspberry filling and crumbly, buttery top… sooo delicious. I’m literally eating one for breakfast with my coffee.
You might notice that I did omit the granola for the topping, but that’s just because I think the almonds offer enough crunch. For this particular batch, I was making for someone who is allergic to almonds, so that’s the only reason you don’t see them pictured. Otherwise, load them up on top before baking. I also doubled this batch and used a 10×15 Pyrex, so feel free to do the same if you are making these for a crowd.