Blueberry Lemon Pie Bars

I have been loving the whole “pie in bar form” this summer. It really just does make sharing much easier! Not to say I won’t be venturing into the pie-in-a-pie-dish soon (especially so I can cross a couple things off of my list), but for parties with lots of people enjoying dessert: pie bars are the way to go!

I originally whipped up this recipe for the party that I took my fluffernutter bars and key lime pie bars to, but I wasn’t completely sold on them. Don’t get me wrong, they were delicious, but they were a bit too sweet for my liking, and I thought they needed some sort of topping– not quite a streusel but not a crust either. That’s why I have taste-testers, people (and I’m always looking for new tastebuds)!
This bar starts with a shortbread crust. One of my absolutely favorite food bloggers put out a cookbook in March and this crust is featured on her lemon bars. As I was perusing her cookbook one day, I made sure to mark the page, because the crust sounded so good. Once I tried it, I was in buttery love, and I actually didn’t feel I wanted to alter it at all (which doesn’t happen to me a lot). The only thing I changed about it was adding the lemon zest. You can find her cookbook here.

You’re actually going to reserve some of the shortbread crust for the topping. Once the crust is all mixed up, you’ll remove 3/4 of a cup, pop it in the fridge or freezer (because it has melted butter in it and will be quite soft), and once you’re ready to use it, it should be nice and easy to crumble over the top. If necessary, you can separate into crumbs with a knife or fork. I sprinkled a little extra sugar on top, just for some sparkle and a little added sweetness.

Creamy and sweet pie bursting with blueberries and citrusy lemon on top of shortbread crust. In portable bar form!

Ingredients
SHORTBREAD CRUST
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted
  • ½ cup granulated sugar (plus more for sprinkling)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • the zest of one lemon, divided
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour

FILLING
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened to room temperature
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1-5.3 ounce container lemon flavored Greek yogurt
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • pinch of salt
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 cups blueberries (fresh or frozen-- if using frozen, do not thaw)

Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Line an 8″ x 8″ or 9″ x 9″ baking pan with foil. Leave an overhang on the sides. Set aside.
SHORTBREAD CRUST
  1. Stir the melted butter, granulated sugar, vanilla extract, salt, and half of the lemon zest together in a medium bowl. Add the flour and stir until combined.
  2. Reserve ¾ cup of the shortbread crust and place in the refrigerator or freezer until needed.
  3. Press remaining crust evenly into the prepared pan. Bake for 18 minutes while you prepare the filling.
FILLING
  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or in a medium sized bowl with a hand mixer, beat cream cheese on high until smooth. Beat in eggs, scraping down the sides as necessary. Add sugar, lemon flavored Greek yogurt, remaining lemon zest, lemon juice, and salt and beat again. Add flour and beat one more time until just combined. Gently fold in blueberries with a spoon or spatula.
  2. Pour filling into prepared crust and add a few blueberries on top of filling. Remove reserved crust from refrigerator and crumble over top of the filling (you may need to separate into crumbs with a knife or fork). Sprinkle with coarse sugar, if desired. Bake bars for 55-60 minutes minutes, or until toothpick placed in center of pan comes out mostly clean. Allow pan to cool at room temperature on a wire rack. When completely cool, chill in the refrigerator for 1 hour.
  3. When bars are completely chilled, lift out of the pan using foil overhang and cut into squares. Top with lemon zest before serving. Bars can be stored covered in the refrigerator up to 5 days.
Notes
Shortbread crust from Sally's Baking Addiction

Recipe Source:freshaprilflours.com

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