A Cornish girl's food adventures

Sour cherry crumb bars

The little cherry tree in our garden has really out-done itself this year. It’s not much bigger than me but it’s managed to produce masses of fruit. As they are sour cherries I do have to cook them before we can enjoy them, just to sweeten them up a little. I’ve stashed a load in my freezer to make some more of my cherry and cinnamon jam but there were still plenty of cherries on the tree so I thought I’d make a batch of this sweet treat.
The bars are delicious with a rich, tender buttery base, tart, sweet fruit layer and a lovely crumbly topping. They’re perfectly portable for picnics but equally delicious served slightly warm with a dollop of clotted cream.
The moisture from the cherries does have a slight tendency to soften the base a little but it can be easily crisped up again with a few minutes in the oven if you don’t manage to polish off all of the bars on the first day!

makes 18 ish
250g plain flour
60g finely ground semolina/polenta
40g cornflour
100g sugar
50g soft light brown sugar
1 tsp baking powder
big pinch of salt
1/2 tsp grated nutmeg
200g cold butter, cubed
1 egg
350g fresh cherries (weight with pits)
2 tbsp cornflour
3 tbsp sugar
50g oats

Pre-heat your oven to 190°c and grease and line a rectangular baking tin (one that’s a centimetre or so deep).
Whisk together all of the dry ingredients for the base, ensuring that they are well combined. Lightly rub in the butter, to leave you with a mixture like coarse bread crumbs. Lightly beat the egg and use this to bring the mixture together a little, the egg should be absorbed but the mixture should still be crumbly and not form a cohesive dough.
Press approximately 3/4 of the mixture into the tin, smoothing off the surface. Pop this in the fridge to chill whilst you prepare the filling.

Slice the cherries in half and remove the stones. Toss them in the 3 tbsp of sugar and 2 tbsp of cornflour, making sure that they are well coated. Spread them in an even, single layer over the prepared base.
Add the oats to the dough mixture that you reserved earlier to create a crumble topping and then scatter this over the cherries. Bake for 30 minutes, until the fruit is bubbling a little and the topping is golden brown.
Leave to cool completely before slicing into crisp, crumbly bars of deliciousness.

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