BLUEBERRY CHUTNEY BARS

THE FILLING

  • 1 large crisp apple or firm pear, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup turbinado sugar or evaporated cane juice
  • pinch salt
  • the juice of one orange (grate the zest off first, you’ll need it later)
  • 1/4 teaspoon flavorful hot red pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 cups blueberries, fresh or frozen
  • 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom (seeds from about 4 pods)
  • the orange zest you grated earlier
  • 1–2 tablespoons candied ginger, finely minced

Stir together the apple or pear, sugar, salt, and orange juice in a medium saucepan, and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Stir until the sugar dissolves, and then cook over low heat until the fruit is tender, about 5–10 minutes.

Add the blueberries and the red and black pepper, and turn the heat to high until the chutney returns to a boil. Adjust the flame to keep it simmering quite briskly, until the berries are cooked and the sauce reduces considerably, to the consistency of syrup. Depending on the juiciness of your berries, this may take 15 to 25 minutes. Add the balsamic vinegar, and boil rapidly a minute or two, until syrupy again. Remove from the heat and add the remaining ingredients. Set aside to cool.

Makes about 1 1/2 cups.

THE CRUMBLE

  • 1/2 cup whole almonds (or nuts of your choice)
  • 1 and 1/4 cups all-purpose white flour
  • 1/2 cup whole-wheat flour
  • 1 cup turbinado sugar or evaporated cane juice or brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • pinch salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup butter
  •  2 cups rolled oats

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Spread the almonds on a baking sheet and toast them 5-8 minutes. (Don’t let them take much color, as they’ll bake more later.) Chop coarsely.

Put the flours, sugar, cinnamon, salt, and soda in a food processor and whiz them around for a second. Cut the butter in bits and add to the mixture. Pulse the machine until the mixture looks crumbly. Add the oats and the almonds, and pulse just to mix. (Alternatively, this operation may be done with a mixer — just be sure to start with soft butter.)

Scoop out a generous 2 cups of this mixture and set aside. Dump the rest into a 9”×13” baking pan. Spread it evenly and pat it down firmly. Distribute the chutney evenly over it, then sprinkle the remaining crumb mixture over the filling. Pat it in a little bit, and pop it in the oven for 50–60 minutes, or until just beginning to brown.

Cool in the pan on a rack before cutting.

Makes 24 bars.

Read the Story that inspired the recipe…

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