I love pumpkin cheesecake and pretty leaves and cozy scarves as much as the next girl, but some days (okay, most days) I find myself wishing summer would last forever.
Short of moving to San Diego, I can’t actually make that happen, but I can make the most of the season’s bounty while it’s here. Enter: Endless Summer Bars. Part melt-in-your-mouth almond shortbread cookie, part fresh-from-the-garden blackberry jam, part bright, citrusy nectarine curd, these bars taste like sunshine.
Don’t be intimidated by the length of this recipe! Each step is really easy, and it takes less than an hour to make (not counting cooling time).
Endless Summer Bars (aka Blackberry Nectarine Bars)
Adapted from The Kitchn’s Heavenly Lemon Bars
For the crust:
- 1/2 c unsalted butter, softened
- 1/2 c powdered sugar
- 1 c all-purpose flour
- 3/4 c almond meal
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/4 tsp almond extract
For the blackberry jam:
- 1 c fresh blackberries
- 1/4 c sugar
- 1/4 c lemon juice
For the nectarine curd:
- 4 large eggs
- 4 large egg yolks
- 1 c sugar
- 1/2 c lemon juice
- 1 c diced nectarines (the more flavorful the better – if your nectarines are bland your curd will mostly taste like lemons)
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/2 c unsalted butter, softened
- Powdered sugar, for dusting
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line an 8″x8″ baking dish with parchment paper, letting some extra paper hang over the sides (you’ll use it to remove the bars later).
Start with the shortbread crust.
- Beat together butter and powdered sugar at medium-high speed until creamy, light yellow, and completely combined, scraping the sides of the bowl as needed.
- Add flour, almond meal, and salt and beat on low speed just until flour is incorporated and mixture comes together into a crumbly dough.
- Press dough evenly into parchment paper-lined baking dish. Prick dough all over with a fork (I love that part!).
- Bake 20–25 minutes, until the edges begin to turn golden. Make jam and curd while shortbread is baking. (Don’t turn off the oven, you’ll need it again soon.)
Make the blackberry jam.
- Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan over medium heat and cook for 5-7 minutes or until mostly liquid.
- Strain mixture through a fine mesh sieve and return liquid to heat. (You can skip this step if you don’t mind some seeds in your jam.)
- Return to heat and cook, stirring often, until mixture is sticky. Set jam aside.
Whip up the nectarine curd.
- Combine nectarines and lemon juice in a saucepan over medium heat and cook for 10–15 minutes or until nectarine is mushy.
- Strain mixture through a fine mesh sieve and measure out 3/4 c liquid to use. (If you have leftover juice, it’s very tasty in cocktails! I mixed the nectarine mixture with a bit of honey and ate it by the spoonful, but it would also be great with some yogurt or ice cream.)
- Whisk together eggs, yolks, and sugar in a small saucepan, then whisk in nectarine/lemon juice and salt.
- Set a strainer over a mixing bowl and place near the stove.
- Heat curd mixture over medium heat, stirring constantly until it’s thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, about 8–10 minutes.
- Strain curd into the bowl and immediately add the butter, stirring until completely melted.
Put it all together.
- Spread blackberry jam over shortbread crust.
- Pour nectarine curd on top and spread with a spatula until even.
- Return dish to the oven and bake 10–15 minutes, until the edges are set but the middle is still a bit jiggly.
- Cool on the counter, then cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours.
- To serve, run a knife along the edges of the dish, then lift the bars onto a cutting board using the parchment paper flaps. Cut the bars to desired size, wiping knife between cuts.