Monday, October 17, 2011

berry cornmeal crumble bars

blackberry cornmeal crumble 003

A few weeks ago Little Nest Cafe, one of my favourite neighborhood spots in Vancouver, had these delicious little blackberry cornmeal bars on special and they were like nothing I had ever tasted before. I wanted to try making them at home and I found a similar recipe on Martha Stewart, which turned out to be a major fail. But determined as I was, I tried again, fiddling with the ratios, adding different elements, but again they weren't exactly right. Finally, for my third batch I realized the real problem: the cooking vessel. Little Nest's bars held together well with a nice crunch on the bottoms and this simply could not be achieved if cooked in a parchment lined 8x8" dish as recommended by Martha.

So without any further explanation, these are delicious, I highly suggest you use up some frozen berries from your summer bounty and make these!

Berry Cornmeal Crumble Bars

1 1/4 cups coarse cornmeal (not the super fine variety. I found the coarse stuff at an Italian grocer)
1 1/4 cups flour (I used a 50/50 blend of whole wheat pastry flour and unbleached all-purpose)
1 cup ground almonds
1/2 cup sugar, plus extra for sprinkling on top
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup butter, melted
10 oz frozen berries (I used primarily blackberries and raspberries, with some blueberries. Rhubarb would also be great)
1/2 cup chopped hazelnuts (optional!)

In a medium bowl stir together your cornmeal, flour, ground almonds, sugar, and salt. Add the melted butter and stir to combine (If it seems like you need more butter, by all means add more. The original recipe called for a cup, but I got away with 3/4).

Press 2/3 of mixture onto a cookie sheet starting from one corner and working your way out. The dough should be pressed to a thickness of about a centimeter to a centimeter and a half, therefore unless you have a small cookie sheet, you will not be covering the whole sheet — but don't worry because it works out fine anyway! (If you are worried, you could make a little frame with aluminum foil)

Sprinkle your frozen berries over the whole surface of the pressed dough, creating a nice thin layer. Take your remaining dough and using you hands, crumble it over the top of the berries. Sprinkle with hazelnuts and a little bit of sugar. Throw her into the oven at 350°F for 35-45 minutes (it should be starting to brown a little on the edges). Cut into squares and enjoy! I like them all on their own with breakfast or my lunch, but they would also make a nice dessert with yogurt or ice cream!

blackberry cornmeal crumble 002

blackberry cornmeal crumble 004


claire said...

I love these bars at Little Nest! I am totally going to try this recipe. Thanks!

Mary Hudson said...

Please do! And let me know if you come up with any other helpful tips (they still aren't as good as the ones at Little Nest!)