Bright and sunny, my blueberry bars are bursting with fresh, juicy, sweet and tangy blueberries making for a deliciously rustic, seasonal dessert. Prepared with a light and buttery honey-cornmeal crust and a sweet blueberry filling lightly kissed with lemon, these mouthwatering bars are an easier and more rustic take on classic blueberry pie!
Blueberry Pie Becomes a Bar
While I would consider myself more of a “savory” cook, I love to relax and unwind by getting into my kitchen and baking up a sweet and delicious dessert to tuck into...
During the sunnier months, when fresh fruits and berries are super colorful, sweet and juicy, and prime for the pickin', so to speak, that's when I find myself really appreciating the preparation of a fruit-studded crostata or a sweet galette, perhaps a strawberry cake, some apricot scones, or even a batch of tangy lemon bars.
But a beloved dessert of mine to prepare is a homemade pie, one brimming with heaps of lightly sweetened fresh fruit or plump berries, all nestled into a buttery homemade crust and baked up until juicy and bubbly—sheer bliss!
Since whipping up a traditional pie can require a bit of extra time and effort, I've found that preparing these juicy blueberry bars is a slightly easier, more rustic way to go. Not to mention, they're fun to pass around!
My sweet and aromatic recipe is prepared with a tender, honey-cornmeal crust that provides a delicious and slightly nutty-warm flavor to this treat, plus an extra little bit of texture.
And with that kiss of lemon combined with the fresh blueberries, these easy dessert bars are the perfect summertime dessert to indulge in, and a favorite treat in our household!
My Blueberry Bars Recipe with a Buttery, Honey-Cornmeal Crust
Why cornmeal in the crust, you may ask? Well, years ago, I had enjoyed a plate of fluffy blueberry-cornmeal pancakes at a local diner, and I absolutely fell in love with the aroma and flavor, as well as the slightly “toothsome” texture that the cornmeal provided.
It was so unique, and partnered so well with the sweet-tart, lemony blueberries, that I became a wee bit obsessed with that fantastic flavor combination.
So when I was creating the recipe for these blueberry bars, I seized the opportunity to use that terrific “partnership”, and added a small amount of medium or medium-fine cornmeal (a grind with just enough texture to notice it) into my flour/dry ingredient base—so nice!
And for added richness, tenderness, and flavor, I also incorporated a touch of sour cream and some sweet honey into my homemade crust, creating a truly delicious and rustic “vessel” to house all of those fresh, juicy blueberries.
Here's a glance at my blueberry bars recipe: (or just jump to the full recipe...)
- To get started, I add my honey-cornmeal crust ingredients to a food processor bowl and pulse until a sticky dough forms. I divide to dough into two, equal mounds, and flatten each into disc shapes, then wrap each in plastic wrap, and chill for at least 30 minutes.
- While the dough chills, I prepare my blueberry filling.
- Once ready to assemble and bake, I roll out one disc of dough into a slightly rectangular shape to fit a large, parchment-lined baking sheet, then add my blueberry filling in an even layer. I then roll out the second disc of dough, and cover the berries with it.
- Next, I brush a bit of cream or half and half over the top crust, cut a few slits for venting, then bake for roughly 40 minutes, or until a light, golden brown.
- I allow things to completely cool before cutting into bars and serving.
by Ingrid Beer
These blueberry bars are bursting with fresh, lemon-kissed blueberries, all nestled into a tender, buttery, honey-cornmeal crust!
Yield: 16 blueberry bars
Nutrition Info: 214 calories (per bar)
Prep Time: 25 minutes (does not include dough “chill” time)
Cook time: 40 minutes
Total time: 1 hour, 5 minutes
Honey-Cornmeal Crust Ingredients:
- 1 ¾ cup all purpose flour
- ¾ cup yellow cornmeal (medium or medium-fine grind)
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 2 sticks (16 tablespoons) unsalted butter
- 1 tablespoon sour cream
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 2 tablespoons water
- 1 tablespoon half and half. or heavy cream (to brush over top crust before baking)
- 1 tablespoon sugar (to sprinkle over top crust before baking)
Blueberry Filling Ingredients:
- 4 cups fresh blueberries (this is roughly 3, 6-ounce packages)
- 1 ½ teaspoon lemon zest
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- Begin by gathering and prepping all of your crust ingredients according to the ingredients list above to have ready and organized for use.
- Into the bowl of a food processor, add the flour and all of the ingredients up to and including the sugar, and pulse a few times to blend. With the processor off, add in the butter, the sour cream and the honey, and begin to pulse for a few moments, then drizzle in the water and pulse a little more until the mixture begins to incorporate and resemble “crumble” (do not over-process the dough).
- Next, turn the crumbly dough out onto a work surface, and using your hands, gently bring the dough together to form a ball, careful not to over work it too much. Once the dough has come together into a ball, cut the dough ball into two equal halves, gently form each into a disc shape, and wrap each disc in plastic wrap. Chill in the fridge for about 30 minutes.
- While dough chills, gather and prep all of the blueberry filling ingredients to have ready and organized for use.
- To prepare your blueberry filling, in a medium sized bowl, toss the blueberries gently with the remaining ingredients, and refrigerate until ready to use for filling.
- Preheat your oven to 375°, and line a large baking sheet (at least 15 ½” x 10 ½” or bigger) with parchment paper.
- To assemble and bake, sprinkle a little flour onto your work surface, place one of the dough “discs” onto the flour and roll out gently to about ¼” thickness, trying as much as possible to maintain a rectangular shape (don’t worry if it’s more oval or round, as this is a rustic, free-form assembly). Once the dough is rolled out, wrap it gently around the rolling pin and unroll it onto the parchment lined baking sheet.
- Next, add the blueberry filling over this, making sure to keep the filling as evenly spread over the dough as possible.
- Rolling out the second dough “disc”, keeping it as close as possible to size and shape of the first one. Once again, roll this dough gently around the rolling pin, and unroll it over top of the blueberries, creating the top crust.
- Brush the half and half (or cream) over the top crust with a pastry brush, and sprinkle on the sugar. Then, using a paring knife, cut about 6 small slits into the top crust to allow for the steam to escape while it bakes, and place into the oven to bake for about 40 minutes, or until the crust is a light golden brown.
- Remove from the oven and allow the pie to cool completely before cutting into bars, then enjoy.
Tips & Tidbits for my Blueberry Bars recipe:
- Fresh, sweet blueberries: For the best, seasonal flavor, opt for blueberries that are ripe and sweet, and at the peak of freshness in the markets. You can certainly substitute frozen berries in a pinch, but the fresh berries, kissed with that touch of lemon, make these bars extra divine.
- Medium or medium-fine cornmeal: Because I like to actually taste and experience some of that texture that the cornmeal provides here, I opt for a medium or medium-fine grind of cornmeal. If you go too fine, you lose some of that texture, and if you go too large on the grind, then it can be a bit much. Medium tends be perfect. And if you prefer not to use cornmeal at all, simply substitute more flour for the amount of cornmeal called for in the recipe.
- Chill your pie dough: Once you have divided your pie dough into two discs and have wrapped each in plastic wrap, allow them to chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes, or more. You can even prep this dough a few days ahead of time, and keep it in your fridge. Then, when ready to assemble and bake, prepare your blueberry filling, roll out the dough, fill, and bake!
- Completely cool before cutting into bars: Make sure to give things time to completely cool before cutting into bars. This allows the juices from the blueberries time to thicken up a bit, and makes cutting much less messy.
Cook's Note: This recipe was originally published in 2012, and has been updated with even more love!