It rained this morning, really rained, summer thunderstorm rain.
This means I have hours to pick our ripe raspberries before they start to mold in their raindrop coating.
When the rain changed to sprinkling, I dashed outside and filled my freezer trays with fresh berries. But there were still more – I needed to make something with fresh berries. I made a pie yesterday and we have a big jar of raspberry shrub brewing, so I wanted something new. I came across an incredibly delicious recipe for Rhubarb Custard Bars from Chef Heidi Fink when rhubarb was ripe earlier this spring, and I remembered it this morning – Some of my raspberries this year are almost as tart as rhubarb, thanks to the cool weather. I wondered: Would the custard set up well enough with the added juice of fresh raspberries? Would it taste good? There was only way to find out. Someone had to bake up a batch, and my kids were happy to be the tasters.
The verdict: It worked! These are definitely more juicy than the original rhubarb version (which I highly recommend you make – It’s so good!), but juicy isn’t necessarily bad. Just have a cloth napkin handy when you dig in. I’m looking forward to fresh blueberries; I think this will work with them, too. And blackberries…
Here’s my GFCF Raspberry Pie Bars version of Chef Heidi Fink’s Rhubarb Custard Bars. Because my kids think they don’t like custard, I popped a favorite word of theirs, “pie”, into the name instead. When it comes to my children and food, names have power.
We can get all of these ingredients locally without plastic packaging, making this as close to a zero waste dessert as possible around here.
You can substitute dairy and wheat flour as noted below if you’re not a GFCF family:
Preheat your oven to 375 F. Grease a 9×13″ pan or line it with parchment paper.
Make the crust:
- 1 1/2 cups GF flour blend*
- 1/2 cup coconut oil (solid – chill yours if necessary) or butter
- 1/2 cup Sucanat or rapadura
- 1/4 tsp finely ground sea salt
Blend all crust ingredients together in a food processor or by hand until the coconut oil or butter is completely mixed in to make a fine crumb texture. Press this evenly into your greased pan. If you’re using GF flour, you do want to press everything in quite well to help it all hold together; wheat flour crust will be happier with a lighter touch.
Bake this crust at 375 F for about 20 minutes, or until it smells toasty and has set. GF flours don’t brown the way wheat flours do, so don’t wait for it to turn a lovely brown – That just isn’t going to happen until it’s much too late.
When the crust is done, remove it from the oven to wait for the filling and reduce your oven temperature to 350 F.
While the crust is baking, make the filling:
- 3 large eggs (or 3/4 cup total of smaller eggs; go by measure if you have your own hens that don’t follow egg factory farm standards)
- 1 cup Sucanat or rapadura
- 1/4 cup coconut milk or whipping cream
- 5 Tb GF flour blend or wheat flour
- 2 tsp GF vanilla extract
- 1/4 tsp finely ground sea salt
Mix these ingredients together well with a whisk until smooth. Then gently stir in:
- 5 cups fresh raspberries
Spread this custard-berry mixture gently and evenly over the still-hot crust.
Return pan to the oven and bake for 30 – 40 minutes at 350 F, until the custard is set in the center (no wild wobbling when you gently shake the pan).
Remove from oven and allow to cool completely before you slice it into bars sized to your taste. I find that 2″ squares work well with GF flour; cut them much larger than that and they’re sure to snap in the center when you take a bite.
Store extras in the fridge on account of the eggs.
If you try these with any sort of berry, please let me know how it works out for you.
*GF Flour Blend – This is just one option of many. For a great round-up of GF flours and a rice-free mix recipe, see this post from Karina, the Gluten-Free Goddess. Since I’ve got a huge bag of rice flour to use up, here’s what’s in my GF flour blend these days:
- 2 cups rice flour
- 2 cups sorghum flour
- 1 1/3 cups potato starch
- 2/3 cup tapioca starch
- 2 tsp xanthan gum (optional – I don’t usually bother with this)
Happy berry season!