Is it a cookie, crisp or crumble? Whatever you wish to call this dessert, these tangy fruit bars bring the flavors of summer to the forefront, banishing mid-winter blues. Because these use a combination of fresh and dried fruit, they can be made with very little sugar. The oatmeal in the crust serves to beef up the fiber content, making this snack somewhat wholesome as well as delicious.
Use whatever combination of frozen and dried fruit you wish; I combined frozen apple slices with dried apricots and cranberries. Each contributes its unique flavor, and the dried fruit helps to absorb juice that is shed by the frozen fruit, keeping the filling nice and firm and allowing the flavors to blend. Be sure to allow these to cool before serving; the filling will gel, and the lower crust stays nice and firm.
To make this quickly, use the power of the food processor to chop the dried fruit and to create the streusel crust and topping.
Tangy Fruit Bars
2 c. frozen fruit (apples, raspberries, blueberries, peaches), chopped or sliced
2 c. dried fruit (cherries, raisins, figs, cranberries, apricots), chopped
3/4 c. granulated sugar or heat-stable sugar substitute
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
2 tsp. lemon juice
1 tbsp. corn starch
Crust & Topping
2 1/4 c. all purpose flour
1 c. quick cooking rolled oats
1/2 c. packed light brown sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
1 c. cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
For filling, combine dried and frozen fruit in medium bowl. Sprinkle with sugar and lemon juice, and allow to sit at room temperature until frozen fruit has thawed and juices and liquid have been released. Combine corn starch and spices, add to fruit and toss so that all fruit pieces are coated. Set aside.
To make crust, put flour, oats, brown sugar and baking powder into the bowl of a food processor. Pulse to combine. Add cold butter, one piece at a time, pulsing to coat flour mixture. Continue until mixture resembles coarse crumbs and begins to come together.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9″ square baking pan with aluminum foil; spray foil with nonstick baking spray. Using the back of a spoon or your fingers, press two-thirds of the crust mixture evenly into the bottom of the prepared pan.
Add filling, including liquid, spreading evenly over crust. Top evenly with remaining crumb mixture.
Bake in preheated oven for 35 – 40 minutes; top should be lightly golden. Allow to cool completely before cutting.
Use foil to lift squares out of pan and place on a cutting board. Cut into 1 1/2″ squares.