Strawberry, Grapefruit and Poppy Seed Pie Bars

Testing Testing Hello it is me I have not been lost.

We can pretend that I’ve just been away forever so that I could develop these pie bars for you even thought it’s just a riff on a good old standby.

Here in Fresno we’ve got great strawberries already so I bought a flat and went to town. I ended up developing these (with plenty of leftover strawberries that I need to figure out how to use up) and couldn’t be happier with the results.

I love strawberries, I love grapefruit, I love the floral flavor of poppyseeds.

They all play so well off of each other, the strawberry and grapefruit come together to give almost a fruit punch flavor? and then the poppy seeds are not only there to get stuck in your teeth but they’ve got that light floral flavor that hits your tongue every few crunches and it’s like 3 best friend flavors hanging out and gossiping about all the good shit.

These come together so quickly, the only wait time is the cooling process, which is not only important for the infrastructure of the dessert but also allows time for the flavors to mellow and settle down and stretch before the big dance number on your tongue.

Go out and buy some strawberries, local if you can (riverpark farmers market vendors in Fresno have some of my favorites rn) and make yourself a batch of these, you won’t be disappointed.

Strawberry, Grapefruit, and Poppy Seed Pie Bars
Makes at least 20, depending on how small you cut the bars

Crust & Topping:
1 cup white granulated sugar
3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
2 tablespoons poppy seeds
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, very cold (like 15-20 minutes in the freezer very cold, not frozen)
1/4 cup buttermilk

Filling:
Zest from half a grapefruit
1/3 cup white granulated sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
pinch of salt
4 cups chopped strawberries (think blueberry size pieces) about 1.25 pounds
2 tablespoons grapefruit juice
1 tablespoon cornstarch
pinch of salt

First things first: Preheat your oven to 375º F and grease and line a 9×13″ baking pan with parchment paper.

In a very large bowl mix together the sugar, flour, baking powder, salt, and poppy seeds. I just use my hands to sort of mix it up, no need to dirty a whisk. Use the large coarse side of a cheese grater to grate in the butter then sort of toss it all around to get coated in the dry ingredients. Squeeze the mixture a few times with your hands then break it up. Add the buttermilk and use a fork to roughly mix it together then use your hands to finish it up. It shouldn’t take very long at all. I like to just alternate my hands squeezing the dough together a few times, like that thing cats do to your body. Don’t worry if there’s still a little flour left behind or if it’s not super cohesive, that’s good.

Take out 2 cups of the dough for the topping and set it aside then and add the rest to your prepared pan. Spread it out evenly then press it in to make a solid base for the bars. I like to use a fist and sort of gently push down to make it even-ish. Place the pan in the freezer while you prep the filling.

Make the filling by rubbing the grapefruit zest into the sugar with your finger tips until it’s super fragrant. Add the cornstarch and salt and lightly toss together. Prep the strawberries and add to the bowl with the 2 tablespoons of grapefruit juice. Use a spoon to mix everything together then add t If the topping seems too grainy and not chunky enough squeeze a handful then break it up and sprinkle it evenly over the top of the fruit. Skip this if it looks chunky enough.

Bake in the preheated oven for 30-35 minutes until it just starts to turn golden brown. Remove from the oven and let the pie bars cool completely in the pan then cover and transfer to the refrigerator for at least an hour or so for the bars to set up and the flavors to sort of meet again (no longer than 24 hours or the bars will start to look a little less than). Use the parchment paper to lift the bars out of the pan, cut, then serve/live ur life.

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