Summer Berry Squares


Summer Berry Squares

 Summer, at least to us, means fresh fruit. We are fortunate to live in an area that provides us with an almost endless amount of raspberries, cherries, strawberries, and blueberries, amongst many other goodies. 

These summer berry squares allow you to sub in your favourite berry (or your favourite fresh fruit). It is versatile, easy to make, and above all, delicious.

We top these with candied cacao nibs, as they add a huge depth of flavour and contribute to the overall textures of this dessert. You can make these in advance and store them for future use or future snacking. View the recipe here.

So, what are we waiting for? Let's get baking!

 

Step One:
Preheat The Oven

First things first, let's get the oven heated to the right temperature. Oven temperatures fluctuate, so turning it on in advance will allow your oven to properly warm and stabilize at the correct temperature. For this recipe, we suggest 350°F.

After turning on the oven, grab your 9" x 13" cake pan and grease it with your favourite butter. We always go for farm fresh, grassfed dairy for its quality and flavour, but choose what you like most.

 

Step Two:
Prep Your Fruit

Place your fruit in a small bowl, and mix together with cane sugar. By adding the sugar early on, it helps draw out moisture and creates a juicy medium that will really elevate the final dessert.

Mixing strawberries with cane sugarStrawberries mixed with cane sugar

Step Three:
Let's Get Mixing

Weigh your butter and cut into small cubes and set aside. Next, weigh all of the dry ingredients into a medium size mixing bowl. Normally at this stage, we would suggest using a pastry cutter (or two forks) to 'cut' the butter into your dry ingredients, but since we're going for a crumble, it isn't necessary.

So, roll up your sleeves, add your butter to the dry ingredients and work it in until it resembles a crumble. Be sure to work fast, as spending too long will cause the butter to melt in your hands.

Butter and dry ingredients to be mixed

Mixing the butter and dry ingredients by handThe crumble ready to be portioned

Step Four:
Prep The Base

Now that you have your crumble ready to go, reserve 1 cup and set aside. Pour the remaining into your nicely greased cake pan. Press the crumble firmly to form an even base. 

Katie pressing down the base of the squares

Step Five:
Pre Bake

Place the cake pan on the middle rack in your oven, and bake for 12 minutes. This will allow the base of the dessert to firm up and prevent any of the juices from the fruit to soak through. 

Pre baking the crust for our summer berry squares

Step Six:
Remove & Let Cool

Once the timer rings, remove from the oven and let cool for at least 10 minutes. This will give it enough time to finish baking, crisp up slightly, and be at the perfect temperature to add your fruit.

If you find your oven runs hot or cold (or home oven always takes longer), adjust the length of time it stays in for. Having the right balance of crisp will make all the difference in the final dessert.

 

Step Seven:
Assemble the fruit

Now that the base of your square has had time to cool, add your berries evenly over top. Feel free to grab a spatula or spoon to get the job done. Evenness is key here, as it will aid in even baking, but also make every bite equally as delicious!

Pouring strawberries onto the base of the squaresArranging the strawberries onto the crust

Step Eight:
Top With Crumble

If you have not already eaten the reserved crumble, sprinkle evenly on top of the layer of fruit. There is not enough to fully coat the fruit, and that is what we are going for. We want the balance of fresh, vibrant fruit alongside the delicious crumble. It aids in creating layers of texture and flavour which we love so much.Sprinkling the crumble overtop of the strawberriesSummer berry squares ready for the oven

Step Nine:
Return to the Oven

Once again, your cake pan needs to head to the oven. This time for 15 minutes, or golden brown. By pre baking the base layer, it will firm up slightly, while locking in all of those delicious flavours from the berries.

Use your judgement on doneness. Keep in mind the square will firm up as it cools (the fruit and juices included). 

 

Step Ten:
Sprinkle With Nibs

As mentioned above, candying cocoa nibs is the closest thing to magic you can do. The flavour is both deep with fudge and caramel notes from the candying process itself, but also retains characteristics of the origin of nibs. We chose to complement the caramel flavours from candying with nibs from Dominican Republic.

Sprinkle the candied nibs overtop, taking care to evenly distribute. This, once again, adds both flavour and texture to the final dessert, so take your time to make it perfect.

Sprinkling the summer berry squares with cacao nibs

Step Eleven:
It's Time to Enjoy!

Now that you have sprinkled the nibs overtop of the dessert, allow it to cool. This will help firm up the fruit and juices, and will make it way easier to both cut and serve. 

You can speed up this process by sending it into the fridge for 30 minutes, and checking on it regularly. Now, all thats left to do is grab a fork or spoon, and get into it! Or, if you are slightly more civilized, slice into squares and serve to your lovely guests.

Enjoy!

 

Tips & Tricks

  1. Move quick when mixing butter into dry ingredients
  2. Depending on your oven, these squares may need a little more or less time. Keep an eye in the final few minutes and adjust as necessary.
  3. Allow the squares to cool properly. This will ensure they firm up and are both easy to cut and serve
  4. If you want to serve warm, it will resemble a crumble. Scoop immediately and top with your favourite ice cream.

 

The Recipe

You will need:

  • small and medium sized mixing bowls
  • 9" x 13" cake pan
  • measuring cups and spoons
  • spoon or fork for mixing
  • scale (optional)

Ingredients:

Base:

  • 160 g (1 ½ c) old fashioned oats 
  • 183 g (3/4c) hard red flour 
  • 144 g (1 c) coconut sugar
  • 45 g (1c + 2Tbl) cacao husk, ground (optional)
  • 2 g salt (1 tsp) salt 
  • 2 g (1 tsp) baking powder 
  • 75 g (½ c) cacao nib, candied 
  • 248 g (1c + 2Tbl) butter, cold cubed

Filling:

  • 1 pint (2 cups) chopped berries or cherries (we used strawberries)
  • 29g (2 Tbl) cane sugar

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F and generously grease a 9x13 pan with butter.
  2. Place fruit in a small bowl and mix in sugar (#1). Set aside.
  3. Cut butter into small cubes. In a medium sized bowl, use your hands to combine the butter with the dry ingredients (#2) until it begins to stick together in larger pieces.
  4. Set aside 1 cup of the newly mixed crumble. Pour the remaining into your prepared pan, pressing the base firmly and evenly. 
  5. Place in the oven for 12 minutes to pre bake
  6. When the timer rings, remove from the oven and let cool for 10 minutes 
  7. After the base has had time to cool slightly, arrange the fruit evenly over the top, coating the entire square 
  8. Sprinkle the remaining cup of the crumble mix over top of the fruit (you should be able to see some of the fruit throughout)
  9. Place pan back in the oven and bake for 15 minutes (until the fruit is set and the top crumb is golden brown)
  10. Remove from the oven and immediately sprinkle the reserved candied cacao nibs evenly over the top
  11. Let cool at room temperature then transfer to the fridge to set the fruit, making portioning easier 
  12. When cool, cut into squares

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