Sunday, July 28, 2013

Almond Blueberry Pie Bars (Paleo, Gluten-free)

One of my favorite recipes I've blogged about is almond blueberry pie bars.  They are amazing: a rich, buttery crust, a smooth, custardy filling studded with juicy berries, and a crumbly topping with crisp sliced almonds.  When my mom and I were trying to decide what to make to bring to our cousin's wedding, these bars came to mind.  I wondered if we could make a decent paleo version.

Luckily, the answer is yes!  These bars are just as delicious as the original.  They're not exactly the same--this version has a soft buttery crust, whereas the others had a crunchier crust--but you won't find me complaining.  We brought a huge platter of these to the wedding, and they disappeared fast, devoured by gluten free eaters and non-restricted eaters alike.  They are even more amazing with a scoop of vanilla ice cream--I recommend Blue Bell if you can get it.

It was a bit of an adventure baking these bars at my aunt's apartment, because she does not have a real oven!  I was nervous about using her combination (microwave and convection) oven, so I found the manual online and read the instructions carefully.  I found that the bars browned VERY quickly, but were still not done in the center, so I covered them with foil for the rest of the baking time.  You may or may not have that problem in a regular oven.

This was my first time using coconut flour and maple sugar, and I think they both worked very well in these bars.  The coconut flour is very fine and created a nice smooth crust in combination with the almond flour.  The maple sugar is granulated, so I didn't have to worry about adjusting the proportions of ingredients in order to use a liquid sweetener.  You won't taste any more than a very faint tinge of maple flavor, and that's really only if you're looking for it.  Enjoy!

Ingredients (adapted from Annie's Eats; makes 36 small but thick bars):

For the crust and topping:

1 and 1/2 cups coconut flour
1 and 3/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons almond flour
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons maple sugar (granulated)
1/4 teaspoon salt
Zest of one lemon
18 tablespoons grass-fed cold butter
1 cup sliced almonds, lightly crushed

For the filling:

4 eggs
1 cup grass-fed milk or coconut milk
1 and 3/4 cup maple sugar
1/2 cup coconut flour
Juice of one lemon
1 and 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
3 and 1/2 cups fresh blueberries

Preheat the oven to 350.  Line a 9x13 pan with tinfoil and grease it lightly.  To make the crust, combine the flours, sugar, salt, and lemon zest in a food processor (or by hand in a large bowl).  Cut the butter into cubes and pulse until the mixture is uniform.  If you're not using the food processor, it's easiest to mix the dough with your hands.  Reserve about 3/4 cup of the mixture to serve as the topping.  Press the rest of it into an even layer in the bottom of the pan.  Bake for about 12 minutes, until golden brown.

To make the topping, add the crushed sliced almonds to the reserved dough and mix until combined.

To make the filling, whisk together all ingredients except the blueberries until smooth.  Gently stir in the blueberries.

When the crust is baked, let it cool for 10-15 minutes, leaving the oven on.  Then, pour the filling over, sprinkle the topping evenly over the filling, and bake for about 45 minutes, until the top is golden brown and the middle is just set.  Cool completely before cutting--it helps to put them in the refrigerator to firm up.  Slice into squares or rectangles and enjoy!

You might also like:

Salted Maple Caramel Peach Bars (Gluten free, paleo)

Banana Blueberry Muffins (Gluten free, paleo)

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  1. This looks beautiful! Is it possible to sub another ingredient to replace the butter?


    1. Hi Alma, you could probably use vegan butter or coconut oil. Let me know how it turns out if you try it!


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