The weather has been really nice these past few days, warm in the upper 70’s with a cool breeze, very spring-y. For some reason when the weather starts to turn warm again I always find myself craving berries, and I’d been wanting to make some sort of fruit bar for a few weeks, so I decided to combine two of my favorite things and make bars with raspberries and custard. And I added another favorite thing by putting some cognac in the custard mix. Liquors always add another interesting dimension of flavor to desserts, but to work it has to be complementary and not overdone, and in this case the cognac melded right along with the vanilla notes, the sweet berries, and the rich and creamy custard. The combination was wonderful, I actually ate an entire row of the bars off of the tray within a 30 minute period. Not the healthiest decision I’ve made this weekend, but definitely worth it. Also, last post I held a giveaway for a $25 gift certificate to Glass Dharma, the makers of beautiful and eco-friendly glass straws. Today I’m announcing the winner of the giveaway, so a big congratulations is in store for….
Raspberry Custard Bars with an Almond Shortbread Crust
Almond Shortbread Crust
- 1 and 1/2 Cups Flour
- 3/4 Cup Ground Almonds aka Almond Meal
- 3/4 Cup Butter
- 1/3 Cup Sugar
- 1/2 Teaspoon Salt
- 2 Eggs
- 3 Egg Yolks
- 12 Ounces Fresh Raspberries
- 1 and 1/2 Cups Sugar
- 1/3 Cup Flour
- 2/3 Cup Heavy Cream
- 1 Tablespoon Butter
- 1 Tablespoon Cornstarch
- 1 Teaspoon Vanilla
- 1 Teaspoon Cognac or Good Brandy
- 1/4 Teaspoon Roasted Cinnamon
- 1/4 Teaspoon Salt
- Start off by making the crust. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Mix together the sugar, almond meal, flour, and salt in a large bowl. Cut the butter into roughly pea sized pieces over the flour mixture and then stir. Knead the mixture with your hands until a coarse dough forms. Press the dough into a 9 x 13 inch baking pan lined with parchment paper until it is evenly distributed and flat. Place the pan in the oven and allow the mixture to bake for 10 minutes. Then remove and set aside.
- Now you can start making the custard. Warm the cream in a medium-sized pot over low heat. Add the flour, sugar, salt, cornstarch, butter and mix well. Continue to warm the mixture, stirring constantly, until it is hot but not boiling.
- Place the eggs and egg yolks in a medium-sized bowl and whisk until thoroughly blended. Slowly ladle some of the cream mixture into the egg mixture, whisking all the while. Continue adding the cream to the eggs in this gradual manner until half of the cream mixture has been blended into the egg mixture.
- Pour the egg mixture back into the cream mixture and whisk well. Allow the custard to thicken for 3 minutes over very low heat, whisking constantly. Never allow the mixture to boil. Remove from heat, and stir in the roasted cinnamon, vanilla extract, and cognac.
- Distribute half of the raspberries on the crust, then pour the custard over them into the pan. Sprinkle the rest of the raspberries over the pan. Place the pan in the oven and bake for 50 minutes, or until the custard is set. Remove the pan from the oven and allow to cool to room temperature before serving.