Peach Pie Bars

I have become addicted to Google Reader.  I diligently add new cooking sites and browse through the recipes in one, organized collection.  I came across the website Pink Parsley by Josie. She adapted the Peach Pie Bar recipe from Rebeeca Rather’s The Pastry Queen which I recently added to my Amazon cart. My grandiose plan is to put my MTurk writing and editing funds towards cookbooks at Amazon.I had unexpected guests this past weekend so I needed to quickly make a dessert.  I browsed around my kitchen and pantry, taking inventory.  I looked at the bowl of fresh, ripe, organic peaches and remembered I had printed out this recipe a week ago.  Not only was this recipe easy, it was delicious.  My husband absolutely adored the dough, and with him not being a big dough fan, I was pleasantly surprised.  The dough has a similar taste to shortbread, and I think the dish is far better the next day when the moistness of the peach filling adds the perfect amount of moisture to the shortbread like crust.

I must admit I was a little concerned that it might be too sweet because the entire recipe (including crust) does call for three cups of sugar, but my doubts were soon laid to rest.  The tartness of the sour cream balanced out the sweetness of the sugar and peaches in a melodic harmony.  I always add extra vanilla extract, and I’m rather fond of Trader Joe’s Vanilla Bourbon.

Once I made this recipe I was left to ponder a few things I might try to alter the next go around.  First, I love almonds, so I was thinking adding a dusting of freshly ground, powdered, almonds to the topping.  I also considered replacing the vanilla extract with almond extract.  So I might try those alterations next time, but for now, this recipe is not only a keeper, but will likely become a regular during the summers.

 

A profile of the Peach Pie Bars, showcasing the layers of crust, fruit filling, and topping.

Peach Pie Bars
adapted from Rebecca Rather, The Pastry Queen

Crust and Topping
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, chilled

Fruit Filling
4 large eggs
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup sour cream
3/4 cup flour
pinch salt
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 1/2 lbs peaches, peeled, pitted, and chopped

To make the crust and topping, preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Grease a 9×13 inch baking pan.

Combine the flour, sugar, and salt in the bowl of a food processor.  Pulse a few times to mix.  Cut the butter into 1/2-inch cubes, and add to the flour mixture.  Process until the butter is evenly distributed but the mixture is still crumbly, 30-60 seconds.

Reserve 1 1/2 cups of the mixture to use as the topping.  Press the remaining mixture into the bottom of the pan, and bake 12-15 minutes.  Cool for at least 10 minutes.

To make the filling, whisk the eggs in a large bowl, then add the sugar, sour cream, flour, salt, cinnamon, and vanilla extract.  Gently fold in the peaches and spoon the mixture over the crust.  Sprinkle the remaining flour mixture evenly over the filling, and bake 45 to 55 minutes.

Cool at least 1 hour before cutting into bars, or scoop out of the pan to serve cobbler-style.

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