according to my cherry lady at the market, this week is the last of the cherries. bummer. this summer, more than ever, i've come to love perfectly red, ripe cherries. but you wouldn't know that, since cherries haven't really graced the pages of this blog much, have they? i better change that this week...you might want to stock up and get our your cherry pitter, because i have an unbelievable cherry jam coming up...
anyway, back to the bars. couple cherries with a crunchy shortbread crust and creamy brown butter filling and you've got the perfect end to a summer barbecue, or enchilada fest, as i would have it.
and while deb did a great job of lining her cherries up all pretty and perfect, i didn't. i tried and decided i didn't have the patience to line up rolling cherries and i wanted each bite to have a cherry. so i simply pitted a whole pound (maybe more?) and spread them out in a single layer onto the crust.
cherry brown butter bars
adapted from smitten kitchen
1 hour, makes 16 four-bite bars or 32 two-bite bars
while the shortbread crust and brown butter filling pairs perfect with sweet tart cherries, i bet this would be equally amazing with whole raspberries or fat peach slices.
for the crust:
7 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
for the filling:
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs, room temperature
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 cup flour
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1 pound sweet cherries
- preheat your oven to 375F. line the bottom of an 8x8 inch baking pan with 2 sheets of parchment paper, so the edges hang over the side of the pan. (deb has a great photo of what it should look like here.)
- in a medium sauce pan, melt the butter. once melted, remove from heat, and mix the sugar and vanilla. add flour and salt and mix until incorporated.
- transfer the dough to your pan and use your fingers to press it evenly across the bottom of the pan. bake about 18 minutes, or until light golden brown.
- while the crust is cooking, pit your cherries and make the filling.
- start the filling by making brown butter. place the butter in a medium, light colored bottom saucepan and cook over medium heat. cook until the butter turns a light, nutty brown color. first it will foam up a lot, the foam will slowly die down, and the butter will start to brown. it's ready when almost all of the foam is gone, and the pan has a few tiny pieces of sandy looking burnt butter on the bottom. as soon as you see this, take it off the heat. this took me about five minutes. watch it very carefully the whole time, as butter will go from brown and nutty to burnt in a matter of seconds. pour the butter into a glass dish to cool while preparing the rest of the filling.
- right about now your crust should be ready. take it out of the oven, leave the oven on at 375F, and let the crust cool slightly while you finish the filling.
- in a medium bowl, whisk the sugar, eggs, and salt. add the flour and vanilla and whisk until smooth. gradually whisk in the browned butter. adding it all at once will scramble the eggs, so be sure to add it about a tablespoon at a time.
- pour your cherries in a single layer on the bottom of the crust. carefully pour the filling over the fruit, making sure it's evenly distributed. bake about 40 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean (be sure to prick the filling and not a cherry). cool completely in the pan on a rack.
- use the parchment paper to carefully remove the bars from the pan. cut into whatever size bars you'd like - i used my bread knife to avoid smushing the cherries - and serve.