Pie Crust too scary? Try these Homemade Cherry Pie Bars with a Cream Cheese Glaze; all the great same flavor but no rolling!
My Grandma Bathe was the ‘pie’ Grandma. That was her forte and one of the many reasons I loved going to her house for holiday get togethers; she always had a wealth of pies making the sideboard in her dining room groan; made us kids groan too!
I’ve inherited her rolling pin which I know must be over 75 years old and while it brings her into the kitchen with me it was only recently that I discovered her magic with pies when I discovered the ‘secret’ to great pie crusts. I’m betting the farm that my Grandma had to have used lard in her pie making too; maybe even the heavenly leaf lard that I’ve just discovered. Who knew? Certainly not me.
Still that pie experience at Grandma’s did not follow us home. While I remember pumpkin pies at Thanksgiving I don’t recall a lot of pie baking as I was growing up. My mother would more than likely make something closer to these Cherry Pie Bars using a can of cherry pie filling. Not that I blame her. Six kids? Oh my.
I’ve been using this recipe for more years than I can remember; while I might have tried my hand at making pies more often than my mom, I brought the single mom card to the table and that seldom left enough time for homemade pies for anything other than Thanksgiving.
Enter these pie bars that I could do more easily and quickly. A cakey/shortbread type batter is covered with cherry pie filling (check out my homemade version pictured above), dotted with a bit more batter and then finished after cooling with my updated drizzle which includes some cream cheese and butter. I’ve always thought they were a nice little treat but my friends who were here with me yesterday raved about them and you know what; they’re right. ESPECIALLY if you use fresh fruit. If you can’t find any fresh cherries, go ahead and substitute the filling with some good canned product; they are still wonderful!
My friends Sandy and Ansh spent the day with me making this fresh peach pie but snacking on cherry pie bars. Well we ate a lot of stuff but these were definitely a hit!
I used cherries to make cherry pie bars but would easily substitute blueberries or peaches in the recipe using prepared pie filling. As a matter of fact it would be fabulous with almost any summer fruit; make one before summer is gone…hurry!
Homemade Cherry Pie Bars
For the Filling
- 2 1/2 pounds fresh sweet cherries (about 8 cups), pitted and halved
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
For the Crust
- 2 sticks (8 ounces) cold, unsalted butter, cubed
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 large eggs yolks
- 2 teaspoons almond extract
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted and cooled
For the Cream Cheese Drizzle
- 3 oz cream cheese, softened
- 3/4 cup powdered sugar
- 3 Tbsp butter, softened
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 3 Tbsp butter, softened
- 1/2 tsp vanilla
Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat to 350°F. Coat a 9x13-inch baking dish with butter and set aside.
To Make the Cherry Filling:
- Place the cherries, sugar, lemon juice, and cornstarch in a large bowl and stir to combine; set aside.
To Make the Dough:
- Place the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a food processor fitted with the blade attachment and pulse to combine.
- Add the egg yolks, almond extract, and butter. Pulse in 5-second intervals just until the dough comes together, about 1 minute total. The dough will be soft and slightly crumbly.
- Transfer 2/3 of the dough to the pan; use a fork or your fingers to press the dough into the bottom of the prepared pan.
To Finish the Cherry Pie Bars:
- Add the cherry mixture to the pan on top of the dough and spread into an even layer.
- Crumble the remaining dough on top of the cherries; evenly spacing it over the top of the fruit. (The cherries will not be completely covered.) Drizzle the dough with the melted butter and bake until the top is golden and the cherries are bubbling, 35 to 40 minutes.
- Cool completely in the pan.
To Make the Cream Cheese Icing:
- Put all of the ingredients into a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix until smooth.
- Drizzle over the top of the bars and allow to cool completely before cutting into bars to serve.
When cherries are available fresh they are the best in this dessert but don't let seasonal changes keep you from preparing these bars with canned cherries; they're still fantastic!