March 3, 2021
I love fruit crumbles and crisps and cobblers. I love making them with fresh seasonal fruit, mixing different flavors and fruit textures. Thats why in the middle of winter I was thrilled to come across these fruit crumble bars that are made with dried fruit. I still get to pick my own fruits of choice, sweet, or tart, mild or intense, and its all held together by an oaty bar. Heaven!
When I made these I was in the mood for a tart and sweet combination of fruit so I used dried apricots, dried cherries and dried cranberries. If I had used what was hiding in my cupboard, which probably would have been a good idea, I would have chosen raisins, prunes, and dried apples. Dates and dried figs could could have been e a nice combination too. Basically, you have some choice here.
In addition to your choice of dried fruit, you also have some choice with the amount of sugar you use. Tarter fruits will need more sugar, while with inherently sweeter ones, you can use less sugar. For sweeter fruits start with the minimum amount of sugar and then taste and add more sugar if needed before pureeing.
These perfect winter-time bars are easy to make, and delicious to eat.
For the Bars
4 cups of dried fruit (see introduction for your options)
1/2 to 1 cup granulated sugar (see introduction)
2 cups water
3 cups old fashioned (not quick cooking) rolled oats
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted
Position an oven rack in the middle of the oven. Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Using baking spray, grease the bottom and the sides of a 13 x 9 inch baking pan.
In a saucepan, combine the dried fruit, granulated sugar, and water. Place over medium heat, stirring frequently, until the fruit is plumped and all the water is absorbed; the cooking time will vary based on the dryness of the fruit. Mine took 30 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool for a few minutes before transferring the fruit mixture to the bowl of a food processor. Pulse a few times to puree coarsely. I pulsed my mixture 10 times.
In a large bowl combine the oats, flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, salt and baking soda. Mix well with a wooden spoon. Add the melted butter and stir until well combined and crumbly. Remove 2 cups of the oat mixture and set aside.
Spread the remaining oat mixture in the prepared pan and press gently to form an even layer. You can use an offset spatula to help you. Spoon the puréed fruit over the layer of oats and spread evenly with the spatula. Distribute the reserved 2 cups of oat mixture over the dried fruit, and press gently to form a top crust. if you use the spatula again, just rinse it off first so your top layer doesn’t get fruit in it.
Put the pan in the oven and bake about 30 minutes, until the surface of the bars is lightly browned.
Remove the pan to a wire rack to cool completely. Cut them into 12 equal bars.