I firmly believe that summer is a time for uncomplicated desserts meant for celebrating all the sweet fruit at our fingertips. This year I'm swapping my pie dish for a trusty 9x13-inch pan and this easy bar dessert reminiscent of a classic cherry pie. Sweet cherries are unmistakably the star of this dessert, although I have no doubt you'll love the almond-scented, buttery crust just as much.
The Easiest Way to Enjoy Cherry Pie
You can leave your rolling pin where it is, because this buttery dough is quickly blitzed together in the food processor and then pressed into the pan. The most involved part of the recipe is the time you'll spend pitting cherries, but that's just the price we happily pay for the sweet desserts that show off this jewel of summer.
Cherry Pie Bars
Cooking spray or butter, for coating the baking dish
2 1/2 pounds fresh sweet cherries (about 8 cups), pitted and halved
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tablespoon cornstarch
3 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs yolks
2 teaspoons almond extract
2 sticks (8 ounces) cold, unsalted butter, cubed
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 tablespoon coarse sugar, such as demerara
Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat to 350°F. Coat a 9x13-inch baking dish with butter or cooking spray; set aside.
Place the cherries, sugar, lemon juice, and cornstarch in a large bowl and stir to combine; set aside.
Place the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a food processor fitted with the blade attachment and pulse to combine. Add the egg yolks, almond extract, and butter. Pulse in 5-second intervals just until the dough comes together, about 1 minute total. The dough will be soft and slightly crumbly.
Transfer 2/3 of the dough to the pan. Use a fork or your fingers to press the dough into the bottom of the prepared pan. Add the cherry mixture and spread into an even layer. Scoop about a tablespoon of the remaining dough, press it together in the palm of your hands, and place on top of the cherries. Repeat with the remaining dough, evenly spacing it over the top of the fruit. (The cherries will not be completely covered.) Brush the dough with the melted butter and sprinkle with the demarara sugar.
Bake until the top is golden and the cherries are bubbling, 35 to 40 minutes. Cool completely in the pan before cutting into 12 bars.
- Storage: The bars can be kept tightly covered with plastic wrap or aluminum foil at room temperature for up to 2 days. After that, they can be stored in the refrigerator for 2 days more.