Last Sunday night I had a group coming over for dinner and I needed a dessert in a pinch, a real pinch.  I wanted to do something fun – but it had to be fast and impressive, and boxed brownies just weren’t exciting.  So I decided to make a twist on the traditional fruit pie.  I switched the pie plate for a cookie sheet and made blueberry pie bars!  The result surprised me because they turned out really well.  I made a fast homemade whipped cream to serve with the bars (for the wow factor, of course) and they were gobbled right up.  The ingredients are easy and it cost about seven dollars for eleven people.

Blueberry Pie Bars
For the bars themselves, I cheated, completely cheated.  I used canned pie filling and ready made pie crusts.  You can choose the berry flavor as any pie filling (apple, cherry, berry, etc.) will work.  Also, you may make your own pie filling and crust.  I know it is tacky and the nutritional value is lacking, but I was in a hurry.  The ingredient list also includes a lemon and a cup of cornflakes.
Ingredient List

Start with a 15 x 10 baking pan.  I used a cookie sheet which was a little to big.  A smaller baking pan would work better and you won’t have to stretch the dough so much.  Grease the pan very well.  I use butter, but you may also spray the pan.  Preheat the oven to 350.

Grease the pan

 Shake a couple of spoon fulls of flour onto a counter top.

Lightly flour the work space

 Roll out one pie crust from the package (usually of two) onto the floured space.

Gently unroll one crust

 Using a rolling pin or a flat cup, roll the dough into a square to fit into your greased pan.

Roll the pie crust into a square

Once the dough is properly rolled, place it into the greased pan.  

Place dough into pan

Prepare the filling by adding one cup of cornflakes into a mixing bowl.

Add one cup of cornflakes

 Crush them using the side of the measuring cup.

Coarsely crush the cornflakes

 Zest the lemon onto the cornflakes.  The amount is subjective.  I zested most of the lemon.  You may only want to use a tablespoon or so.

Zest the lemon

 Add the canned pie filling to the bowl.

Pie filling

 Stir the mixture together.  It will look choppy once it is ready.

Ready to use

 Roll the second crust the same way as the first.

Prepare the second crust
Using a small cookie cutter, cut shapes into the crust.  You don’t have to do this, but I did for a fancy pants effect.  You can use any shape you want.  If you don’t have a cookie cutter, shot glasses or even bottle caps will do.
Cut shapes into dough

 Place the pieces of cut dough on top of the second crust.

Top pie crust

Spread contents of mixing bowl into pan on top of first crust.  Make sure the fruit is evenly spread around.

Berry filled pie crust

Place second crust on top of fruit mixture.  Pinch the sides of the dough together to seal them the same way you would a regular pie crust.

Second crust on top of first

Bake pan for 40-45 minutes on 350.  While the pie bars are baking, take 10 minutes and make homemade whipped cream.

Whipped cream ingredients

You’ll need 1 cup of heavy whipping cream, a couple of tablespoons of vanilla, and 1/2 cup of sugar.  I use granulated sugar, some people use confectioners sugar.

Mix ingredients together

Add sugar to mixing bowl, then vanilla, and last the whipping cream.  Beat it on high speed with an electric mixer until it thickens.  I like to make it extra thick.  It is probably much thicker than chefs would tell you to whip it, but that is how I roll (or whip).  It takes about 7 minutes to whip it.  The time feels like it is dragging by, be patient.

Final product

Cover the mixing bowl once the cream is whipped and put it into the refrigerator to chill. Take it out once you are ready to serve the bars.  The bars will bake for 40 ish minutes and brown once they are done.  Let them cool briefly, but serve them warm.  Put them into the oven just as everyone arrives and they will be timed perfectly for dessert.  The house will also smell like pie as your guests are eating (which earns additional hostess points).  Cut them into pieces and serve with a dollop of whipped cream.  Nobody has to know how easy they are.


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