When it comes to classic American desserts, few can rival the timeless appeal of a cherry pie. But what if you could enjoy all the deliciousness of a cherry pie in a more convenient and shareable form? Enter Cherry Pie Bars, a modern twist on the beloved cherry pie that’s perfect for gatherings, picnics, or simply indulging your sweet tooth.
Cherry pies have a rich history in the United States, dating back to the early colonial period. Cherries, both sweet and tart varieties, were grown by early European settlers, and it wasn’t long before they began incorporating this fruit into pies. Over the centuries, cherry pies became a symbol of American culinary tradition, famously linked to George Washington’s tale of chopping down a cherry tree.
As time passed, the popularity of cherry pies grew, and they evolved into various forms, including hand pies, turnovers, and bars. Cherry Pie Bars, as we know them today, offer the same fruity, flaky delight but with a modern, convenient twist.
Step 1: Preheat the Oven Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C). Grease and line a 9×9-inch baking pan with parchment paper, leaving an overhang on two opposite sides for easy removal later.
Step 2: Make the Crust
- In a mixing bowl, combine the flour, granulated sugar, and salt.
- Add the cold, cubed butter to the dry ingredients. Use a pastry cutter or a fork to cut the butter into the flour mixture until it resembles coarse crumbs.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the egg yolk and vanilla extract. Pour this mixture over the buttery crumbs and stir until the dough comes together.
- Press the dough evenly into the bottom of the prepared baking pan. Use the back of a spoon or your fingers to make it smooth and compact.
Step 3: Add the Filling
- In another bowl, mix the cherry pie filling with almond extract. Spread this evenly over the crust in the baking pan.
Step 4: Create the Streusel Topping
- In a separate bowl, combine flour and granulated sugar for the streusel topping.
- Add cold, cubed butter and cut it into the mixture until it forms coarse crumbs.
Step 5: Bake and Cool
- Sprinkle the streusel topping evenly over the cherry filling.
- Place the baking pan in the preheated oven and bake for about 45 minutes, or until the top is golden brown and the filling is bubbly.
- Once done, remove from the oven and let it cool in the pan for about 20 minutes. Then, use the parchment paper overhangs to lift the cherry pie bars out of the pan and onto a cooling rack.
Step 6: Slice and Serve
- Once completely cooled, use a sharp knife to slice the Cherry Pie Bars into squares.
- Serve at room temperature and enjoy the delicious combination of buttery crust, sweet cherry filling, and crunchy streusel topping.
Cherry Pie Bars offer all the nostalgic charm of a classic cherry pie but in a more convenient and portable form. With a buttery crust, sweet cherry filling, and crumbly streusel topping, these bars are a delightful treat for any occasion. Whether you’re enjoying them as a dessert after a family dinner or packing them for a picnic in the park, Cherry Pie Bars are sure to satisfy your craving for a taste of American culinary history with a modern twist. So, roll up your sleeves, gather your ingredients, and let the aroma of these delectable bars fill your kitchen as you embark on a sweet culinary journey through time.