For some reason, I’ve been craving Blueberry Custard Pie Bars. See it all started when I picked up blueberries on sale right before Easter, with no real plan in mind. Then I started thinking about blueberry pie, then blueberry custard pie, then of course, Blueberry Custard Pie Bars.
“But what that all has to do with Shortbread Crust?” you might ask, as I ramble on. Well, it’s because Blueberry Custard Pie Bars don’t use pie crust, they’re built on a shortbread crust.
A crust like my Fregolata Tart. I love that tart with it’s shortbread crust! But of course, if it was to go in a 9 x 13 pan, I knew I’d have to make it bigger, better and even more delicious!
I started looking at recipes and I saw something that I had never noticed before. Most shortbread recipes (at least for crusts) follow a formula: 1 stick of butter (1/2 cup) for each cup of flour. A slight increase in the sugar and I had a gorgeous crust for my bars or for other bars I might want to make in the future.
And believe me, I have more ideas for this shortbread crust in the future. And they may involve caramel. Ummhmm. 🙂 Maybe even my home-made Salted Caramel.
If you’d like to know more about shortbread, this article in the Guardian is a fun read.
For the best shortbread, make sure your butter is softened perfectly. When you pick up the stick you should be able to bend it while it still keeps its shape. Cream it well with the sugar, several minutes, until it has lightened in color and is fluffy and airy. After adding the flour, mix it minimally to just incorporate and you’ll end up with crumbles of dough. It’s ok, it’s supposed to be that way…
Shortbread Crust for Bars
- 2 sticks (1 cup) butter, softened at room temperature
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 2 cups flour
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
In mixing bowl, with the whisk attachment, cream the butter until fluffy and light in color. Add sugar and continue to beat, 3 to 4 minutes if using a stand mixer, a minute or two longer if creaming with a hand-held. Stop and scrape down the sides of the bowl now and then. Add vanilla and salt and beat until just incorporated.
Add the flour to butter mixture. If using a stand mixer, switch to the paddle attachment and mix until the flour is just incorporated and dough forms clumps. If using a handheld, switch to the regular beaters. Scrape down the sides and incorporate any loose flour with the spatula.
Press into and slightly up the sides of 9 x 13 inch pan . Lightly dock the surface with a fork. Bake at 400 degrees for about 18 minutes, or until crust is set. The crust should still be fairly pale but slightly golden. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely before filling.
Note: It’s ok to have this crust just slightly underbaked if it will be filled and baked again to set the filling. If you wish to have it fully baked, leave in the oven a bit longer until you see the edges of the shortbread pull ever so slightly from the side of the pan.
from the kitchen of http://www.frugalhausfrau.com