When experimenting with ingredients in recipes sometimes you win and sometimes you lose. Okay, let’s be honest, most of the time you come out with something fine, but that you probably wouldn’t make again. Those rare times when you do hit on real success are all the more satisfying for that very reason. I recently had that feeling of joy when I made these blackberry marscapone pie bars.
A couple of weeks ago I made blackberry marscapone hand pies, but I had a ton of leftover filling and marscapone cheese. I didn’t want them to go to waste so I started thinking about using them up in another type of dessert recipe. I’ve always loved fruit bars so I started searching online for blackberry pie bar recipes that I could adapt to use what I had on hand. I found this lovely recipe from Annie’s Eats which is from The Pastry Queen cookbook. I made a few changes that I think sent these over the top.
I followed the crust recipe to a tee (warning, lots of butter here!). Because I already had the basic blackberry filling prepared I just added the eggs, flour, vanilla and salt and then swapped in the marscapone cheese for the sour cream.
Thankfully, a friend of mine who had made the original recipe from Annie’s Eats before warned me not to follow the instructions to put down foil. She suggested using parchment, which tends to be my go-to choice anyway with the big rolls from Costco I keep on hand. With all the butter, even with the parchment lined pan it was a bit of a trick to get these out, it took some finesse. That sticky butter crust tends to seep underneath the parchment like a glue. I’d suggest first spraying the pan lightly with cooking spray then line it with parchment and add another light coat of spray before pressing the crust into the pan.
After my husband and I took a bite I knew we’d scarf the whole pan down between the two of us. To save us from ourselves and to share the dessert love I brought half the pan into the office for my co-workers to enjoy the next day. They couldn’t stop raving about them! I hope you enjoy these as much as we did.
What recipes have you put your own twist on that turned out to be a winner?
Blackberry Marscapone Pie Bars
Makes 16-20 small bars
FOR THE CRUST
- 1 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
- 3/4 c. sugar
- pinch of salt
- zest of half a lemon
- 12 Tbsp. unsalted butter, chilled
FOR THE FILLING
- 3/4 c. sugar
- 3 Tbsp. cornstarch
- 1/4 c. water
- 2 1/2 c. fresh blackberries, divided
- 1 tsp. fresh lemon juice
- 2 large eggs
- 1/2 c. marscapone cheese
- 6 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
- pinch of salt
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spray a 9×9-inch baking pan with cooking spray. Line with parchment paper and lightly spray again with cooking spray. In a food processor, add the flour, sugar, salt and lemon zest. Pulse a couple of times. Cut cold butter into small cubes then add to the dry ingredients. Pulse in short bursts to cut the butter into the dry ingredients until the mixture is crumbly and pea sized.
Reserve 3/4 c. of the crust mixture, keep in the fridge for later. Press the rest of the mixture into the prepared pan to form an even layer. Bake 12-15 minutes, or until light brown. Cool 10-15 minutes before moving to the next step.
To prepare the filling, whisk together the sugar and cornstarch in a small saucepan. Add the water and 1 cup of the fresh blackberries. Stir with a spoon and press down to smash some of the berries.
Heat the pan on medium and stir the mixture frequently, smashing the berries down periodically. When the sauce has become thick and glossy after a few minutes remove from the heat and stir in the remaining fresh blackberries. Let cool for a few minutes then stir in the lemon juice. Chill the mixture in the refrigerator or freezer until cold.
In a medium bowl whisk eggs, marscapone, flour, salt and vanilla until smooth. Stir in chilled blackberry mixture. Spread filling over the baked and cooled crust. Crumble the reserved crumb mixture over the filling.
Bake until the top starts to brown and the filling is just set in the middle, about 35 – 40 minutes. Let cool completely on a wire rack then refrigerate at least 2 hours before serving.