Corn. Cattle. Pella Windows. Dutch letters. Red covered bridges of Madison County (somewhere my initials are carved into one). Elk Horn’s Danish windmill. Butter sculptures at the the state fair. Moths as big as birds. Fishing in my aunt and uncle’s backyard. The Hawkeyes. The best writers’ workshop in America. Glenn Miller, John Wayne, Johnny Carson, Donna Reed. Electrical storms in summer. Fireflies. Farm life. These are a few of the things that come to mind when I think of Iowa.
Well, that and bars. By which I mean bar shaped baked goods–the treats that make the Midwest go round. Iowans love them. I love them. And as a woman with strong family roots there, I felt it my duty to finally post about them. Most tend to be of the chocolate variety, but mine are blueberry.
This morning at the greengrocer’s my four year old chided me. “Blueberries aren’t in season, mommy.” I trained her too well. “That’s right, darling. In England they’re not, but lucky for us they are in . . . (I picked up a carton and read the label) Spain.” “Morocco too.” I needed a few more cartons and the Spanish ones ran out.
Below is my blueberry bar recipe. It’s a crumbly one with notes of almond and fresh lemon. As the sky was so blue today and the sun so warm, it felt like the most appropriate bar recipe to bake. I love it as much as my Grandpa Jim loved the Hawkeyes. My hope is you do too.
1/2 cup caster sugar
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1 cup flour
3/4 cup oatmeal
1/2 cup ground almonds
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
pinch of salt
125 grams unsalted butter
4 cups blueberries
1/2 cup caster sugar
juice and zest of 1 lemon
1 tablespoon cornflour
Preheat oven to Gas 4/ 350F/ 180C.
Lightly butter a small ceramic dish and set aside. The measurements of mine were 8×12 inches. If you like lots of crumble, use a smaller dish. 8″ x 8″ would be perfect.
Mix all the ingredients for the crumble, except for the egg, in a large bowl with your fingertips. Combine until it resembles a fine meal. Then incorporate the egg.
Place 2/3 of the crumble in the bottom of your dish. I use my knuckles to push it into place.
Then in another bowl mix the lemon juice, zest, sugar, and cornflour. Gently stir in the blueberries and coat.
Pour the berry mixture on top of the crumble layer. Sprinkle the remaining 1/3 of the crumble on top.
Bake for 45 minutes or until golden brown. Allow the bake to cool completely before cutting into it. This will give you a better set bar than just a lot of crumble.