The recent weather in Bangalore has been erratic – sunny and hot in the day and cloudy and rains in the night. The box of frozen blueberries in my freezer was calling out to be eaten (they can represent the dark cloudy sky) and I thought what better than lemons to show the sunny side of the weather?
Presenting the ‘Blueberry Lemon Pie Bars‘!
It has a lemon flavoured shortbread crust as the base as well as for the crumble that goes on top. The filling in centre is made of cream cheese, lemon zest & juice and blueberries. It’s like eating a lemon pie with blueberries popping in your mouth but in a square bar shape instead of the traditional pie. They’re tart and buttery and fruity and tangy and crumbly… total drool-worthy!
Shortbread Crust (for base and top)
227g of unsalted butter, melted
100g granulated white sugar
1 tsp lemon zest (plus 1 tsp for sprinkling on top later)
250g all-purpose flour
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp salt
200g cream cheese, soft at room temperature
200g granulated white sugar
150g plain thick yoghurt
2 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp lemon zest
pinch of salt
65g all-purpose flour
3 cups (about 300g) blueberries (I’ve used frozen, unthawed – fresh ones are really expensive here!)
1. Prepare an 8×8 inch square pan by putting a parchment paper with overhang. Preheat the oven to 180 deg C.
2. In a bowl, mix the melted butter, sugar, lemon zest, vanilla, salt and flour. Reserve 3/4 cup of this mixture and spread the rest of the mixture onto the pan evenly. Put the reserved mixture in the fridge – it’ll be used for the crumble top later.
3. Bake the shortbread crust base for 16-18 min till slightly firm.
4. Meanwhile, in a separate bowl, beat the cream cheese using a stand mixer or hand mixer till soft and creamy. Add one egg at a time and mix well. Add the sugar, yoghurt, lemon juice, lemon zest, salt and flour and mix well till no lumps.
5. Gently fold in 2½ cups of frozen blueberries into the mixture with a spatula (don’t mix too hard else your mixture will turn purple, little is okay).
6. Pour this mixture over the baked crust. Sprinkle the remaining ½ cup of blueberries on top of the filling. Crumble the reserved cooled shortbread mixture with your hand (or a fork) and sprinkle it on the top of the filling.
7. Bake it at 180 C for 60-65 minutes till a skewer inserted comes out almost clean.
8. Remove the pan from the oven and let it cool completely on a wire rack. Once cool, cover it and put it in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours (this will help in setting it for cutting into squares later).
9. Remove from the pan using the overhang and sprinkle the lemon zest over the top. Cut into squares and serve. These keep best in the fridge for 5-6 days.
Recipe inspired by Lynn from Fresh April Flours