April 11, 2021
So this is a copycat of a pastry I buy at a nearby bakery. They call it “shoe sole”. I guess they call it that because it’s flat like the sole of a shoe. But truly this delicious pastry needed a better name.
These crumb bars are one of my kids’ favorite snacks. You start with a pie crust bottom, top it with jam, then cover the jam with a very thick buttery crumb. And finally you add a sugary glaze. Not bad for something referred to as the bottom of a shoe. The most challenging part of this recipe is the bottom crust. If you are really against making your own pie crust you can buy one, but I suggest you give it a try. If you have a food processor, it’s especially easy. The dough comes together very quickly.
It took me a few tries to get this pastry right, but Mia and Eli finally gave me the thumbs up. I used raspberry jam, but you can really use any flavor you wish. There’s no wrong choice here.
The Jammy Crumb Bar
Crust adapted from Erin McDowell The Book On Pie
For the Crust (or you can buy a pre-prepared one)
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
8 tablespoons (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1/4 cup ice water
For the Jam Layer
3 heaping tablespoons raspberry jam
For the Crumb Layer
1 cup flour
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup light brown sugar
8 tablespoons (113 grams/1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
For the Glaze
3/4 cup confectioners sugar
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon milk
To Make the Crust:
By Hand: To mix the crust by hand whisk together the flour and salt. Cut the cold butter into cubes, tossing them in the flour until each piece is coated. Cut the butter into the flour by pressing the pieces between your fingers. continue to re-coat the butter in flour and press. You can also use a pastry cutter. For a flaky crust, continue cutting the cutter into the flour just until the pieces of butter are the size of walnut halves. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and add the cold water. Using your hands toss the flour and the water together. This begins to combine the mixture. As the flour begins to hydrate you can switch to more of a kneading motion. Do not over knead. If your dough is too crumbly, add a little more cold water a teaspoon at a time. Every flour hydrates differently. You are looking for the dough to hold together. If it’s too sticky, you can add a bit of flour. Form the dough into an even disk about 1 inch thick. Wrap the dough tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or up to 2 days.
With the Food Processor: ( How I made the crust) To mix the crust in the food processor, add the flour and salt. Add the cold butter, cut into cubes and pulse 10-12 times. The butter should be different sizes. Some pea sized pieces, some walnut sized pieces. Add the cold water and continue to pulse 7-10 times until the water is absorbed. The dough will NOT have come together yet. Put a piece of plastic wrap on the counter and turn the dough out onto the plastic wrap. Start pushing the dough together with your hands, almost a kneading motion, until the dough comes together into a a ball. If the dough feels too sticky add little flour. If the dough won’t come together and feels too dry, add a teaspoon at a time of cold water, until it forms a ball. Form the dough into an even disk about 1 inch thick. Wrap the dough tightly in the plastic wrap it is sitting on and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or up to 2 days.
To Prepare the Bottom Crust
Preheat your oven to 400º F. Prepare a 13 x 9 inch baking pan with baking spray, and make a parchment sling.
On a lightly floured surface, roll out the chilled pie dough into a rectangle, approximately 13 x 9 inches. You can roll it out on floured parchment paper because it is easier to peel the dough off the paper than of the counter. Gently fit the dough into the prepared pan. Use your fingers to push the crust to the edges of the pan to create the bottom layer if it doesn’t fit.
To Make the Jam Layer
Put the jam on the crust and spread with a knife or offset spatula.
To Make the Crumb
In a medium bowl add the flour, and sugars. Give them a quick mix. Add the butter. With your fingers break up the butter into the flour mixture until the mixture looks crumbly. Sprinkle the crumb mixture on top of the jam layer. I used most of the crumb. (That means a lot.)
Bake for 23-25 minutes, until light brown on the top and the jam is bubbly. Let it cool in the pan on a metal rack for 20 minutes. Then with the help of the parchment sling lift and place on the wire rack to finish cooling. Cool completely before putting on the glaze.
To Make the Glaze
In a medium bowl combine the confectioners sugar, vanilla and milk. If the mixture is too thick add more milk, 1 teaspoon at a time. If the mixture is too thin, add more confectioners sugar 1 teaspoon at a time. When you have the desired thickness, put glaze into a ziplock bag and use as a pastry bag, pushing all the glaze to one corner. With a scissor, cut the corner off the ziplock bag and pipe the glaze onto the pastry.
Let cool completely. Slide the parchment paper and pastry onto a cutting board and use a pizza cutter to cut the pastry into four (or more) jammy bars.