There’s just something about summer time that makes me think… PIE. With the Fourth of July around the corner, pie is particularly on my mind.
I’m sure the fact that my favorite pies are of the berry variety also has a good deal to do with it. More than any other fruit, I love the way that raspberries, blueberries, and cherries lend themselves to pie dough. What I don’t love is the process of making pie, particularly the crust. I have come across some fantastic pie crust recipes, in particular Bravetart’s Old Fashioned Pie Dough, this one from America’s Test Kitchen that uses vodka of all things, and I love this All Buttah Pie Dough from Erin McDowell. But even when the crust comes out as light and flaky as I could have dreamed, I just don’t enjoy it all that much.
This means that I often reach for other types of crusts and crumbles often made of oats, nuts, crushed cookies and am often playing around with formats. This brings me to the pie bars you’ve come here for.
These bars are tart, rich tasting, and just sweet enough with a crumbly topping and crust sandwiching an easy jammy raspberry filling. These would be perfect for a picnic, potluck, casual summer backyard get together. They are closer in texture to a piece of pie than a granola bar, so serve them plated with a fork as you would most desserts (but I won’t say I haven’t eaten one with my fingers cold right out of the fridge and it was delightful). They are great served at room temperature, and freeze exceptionally well too so making them ahead is not only achievable but preferable. If you’re having trouble cutting them, make sure they are cool enough. I often pop any bars, whether they are my favorite Paleo Blondies or my One-Bowl Double Fudge Brownies, in the freezer for a bit before cutting to make it simple and clean.
I also love to eat leftovers, warmed briefly in a skillet or oven, with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
You need these in your summer rotation for Memorial Day, July 4th, Labor Day or just a plain old Wednesday. These bars make it acceptable to eat pie at any time of day or night, which is really a cause for celebration on its own.
Raspberry Picnic Pie Bars
Yield: 9-16 bars
1 cup old fashioned oats
1 ½ cups oat flour (can sub AP flour)
½ tsp baking powder
⅔ cup coconut sugar (can sub white or brown sugar)
8 Tablespoons unsalted butter, diced and softened
¼ cup grade B maple syrup
3 cups raspberries
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Zest and juice from one lemon
2 Tablespoons arrowroot (or 1 T corn starch)
½ teaspoon kosher salt
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Line an 8×8 inch pan with parchment paper and generously spray with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside.
Make the dry mix for the base and topping: in a medium bowl mix together the oats, oat flour, coconut sugar, baking powder, and salt.
Add the diced butter and mix with fingers until it becomes clumpy and comes together.
Place ⅔ of the mixture into the prepared pan and refrigerate the rest to use for the topping. Using your fingers, evenly press the base mixture into the bottom of the pan. Set aside.
To make the filling: place a medium pot over medium heat. Add in raspberries, maple syrup, vanilla extract, lemon juice & zest, arrowroot/cornstarch, and salt.
Bring mixture to a boil, then reduce heat and cook for 3-5 more minutes while mashing raspberries a bit with a wooden spoon, until mixture is thick and coats the back of your spoon.
Remove from heat and evenly spread the mixture over your crust.
Take your reserved topping out of the fridge and sprinkle evenly over the filling.
Bake for 25-30 minutes until bubbling and topping is golden.