Parfait! Cherry Crisp Bars

07bcherrycrispbarsbzloSo… this is and it isn’t really a Parfait! recipe.

It is a Parfait! because it is based on those wicked fine Apple Pie Bars and uses the same, most excellent, pastry recipe; but it also isn’t a Parfait! because I’ve made a cherry filling and added almond crisp to it – which – I should note, got the coveted “thumbs up!” sign and ten on a scale of one to ten rating from Shane.

Ya gotta know your target audience, folks.

•8 oz. cream cheese, softened
•1 cup butter, softened
•3 cups flour, divided

Cherry Pie Filling:
•6 cups pitted red cherries (2 12 oz bags)
•3 tbsp Cointreau
•6 cups white sugar
•1 cup cornstarch
•1/4 tsp ground ginger
•1/4 tsp allspice
•2 cups almond rice crunch

•1-1/2 cup powdered sugar
•2 tbsp water

Place cherries into a saucepan over medium heat, and cover the pan; heat cherries until they release their juice and come to a simmer, 10 to 15 minutes. Stir often.

03bcherrycrispbzloIn a bowl, whisk the sugar with cornstarch until smooth; pour the mixture into the hot cherries and juice, and thoroughly combine. Return to low heat, bring to a simmer, and cook until the filling has thickened, eight to ten minutes. Remove from heat, and set aside to cool.

03dmixedbzloNote: your filling might could still look thin and runny at this point. It will more than likely thicken up as it cools but, if you still have concerns, here’s a neat little trick: strain out the cherries and stir a cup or two of the liquid into the almond crisp in a mixing bowl – just enough to moisten it but you still have a good, thick consistency.

Stir in the cherries, and all is right with the world!

Heat oven to 400ºF.

05bbottomdoughbzloMake the dough by beating the cream cheese and butter in large bowl with mixer until blended. Add the flour flour, in half cup increments, mixing on low speed after each addition just until blended.

Shape into the dough into two balls.

Place one ball on a lightly floured sheet of waxed paper; flatten slightly. Sprinkle with a bit more flour and cover with second floured sheet of waxed paper.

Roll the dough out into a rectangle just a bit bigger than a 13×9 inch glass baking pan.

05ccherrycrispbzloHint: while you’re rolling the dough out; fold any ragged edges back into the dough and roll out to get a pretty evenly edged rectangle of dough.

Apply cooking spray to your pan; remove and discard the top sheet of waxed paper, then invert the pan over the rolled-out dough.

Flip dough and pan together, remove second waxed paper sheet, and gently press dough onto bottom and up side of pan.

06abakedbzloSpread cherry filling over the bottom crust.

Lightly flour a fresh sheet of waxed paper on your work surface, then repeat rolling out of remaining dough ball to make the top crust.

Remove top sheet of waxed paper and carefully flip the dough over the cherries in the pan.

06cglazedbzloPeel back and discard the waxed paper, tuck edges of dough down sides of pan to enclose the fruit, and cut several slits in top crust to vent steam.

Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until golden brown. Cool on a rack for 15 minutes.

Mix the powdered sugar and water until smooth, then drizzle over top pastry.

Cool for 30 minutes before cutting into bars.

General consensus was that these were, in fact, a bit better than the improved apple pie bars; tho’ everyone admitted as to how they would gladly sample either, whenever I chose to make a pan.


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