A pie is not something most of us can whip up on a whim. And let's be honest: It's not the easiest thing to make, either. (If you disagree, you are welcome in my kitchen anytime.) So what to do when the craving for a buttery crust and fruit filling strikes? One-bowl Peach Melba Shortbread Bars to the rescue.
You probably have most or even all the necessary ingredients. The base crust is fuss-free, quick to assemble — no worrying about keeping it flaky — and melt-in-your-mouth tender. It also doubles as a crumb topping. Using preserves for the filling is a shortcut that works here (but not for pie).
Peach Melba is a classic peach-and-raspberry dessert named after Dame Nellie Melba, a famed opera singer from the late 19th and early 20th centuries (you may remember her as a character in a "Downton Abbey" episode). The two preserves make a colorful sweet-and-tart combination, but you can use whatever flavors you like or have on hand. Feel free to experiment with different nuts, too.
Peach Melba Shortbread Bars
Servings: 16 bars
Adapted from "Sunday Suppers: Simple, Delicious Menus for Family Gatherings" by Cynthia Graubart (Southern Living, 2017)
Make ahead: The bars will keep for five days at room temperature, layered between wax paper in a tightly closed container.
• 2 cups flour
• 1/2 cup sugar
• 1/4 teaspoon salt
• 16 tablespoons (2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
• 1 cup peach preserves
• 3 tablespoons raspberry preserves
• 1/2 cup sliced almonds
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Press a long piece of aluminum foil into the pan to create a sling, leaving several inches of overhang on two opposite sides so you can use it to pull the bars out of the pan later. Generously grease the foil with cooking oil spray (this will help release the sticky edges of the cooked jam after the bars are baked).
Combine the flour, sugar and salt in a mixing bowl. Use a food processor or your clean, cool hands to work the butter into the flour mixture until crumbly. Reserve 1 cup of the crust mixture for the crumb topping.
Press the remaining crust mixture into the bottom of the pan. Bake (middle rack) for 25 to 30 minutes, or until lightly browned.
Remove from the oven; spread the peach preserves over the hot crust. Then spoon small amounts of the raspberry preserves around. Sprinkle the reserved crumbly crust mixture over the filling, making sure to cover most of it, then scatter the almonds on top.
Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, or until the topping starts to turn golden brown and the almonds are fragrant and lightly browned. Let cool (in the pan) on a wire rack for one hour, then remove the slab using the foil sling and cut into 16 bars.
Nutrition | Calories: 260; Total Fat: 13 g; Saturated Fat: 7 g; Cholesterol: 30 mg; Sodium: 45 mg; Total Carbohydrates: 35 g; Dietary Fiber: 1 g; Sugars: 19 g; Protein: 2 g.
Food reporter Becky Krystal is the lead writer for Voraciously. When she's not eating, she's cooking, and when she's not cooking, she's thinking about eating or cooking. She especially loves baking, and may have been a pastry chef, or at least a pastry, in another life.