Cherry Pie Bars
makes 1 9×9-inch pan
For the Crust:
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1/4 cup old-fashioned oats
For the Filling:
2 large eggs
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup Greek yogurt or sour cream
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon almond extract (optional)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen cherries
(thawed & drained if frozen) and cut in half
Place a rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9×9-inch baking pan, line with parchment paper (hanging it slightly from the pan) and grease the parchment paper. Set aside.
To make the crust, in a medium bowl combine butter, powdered sugar, flour, salt, and lemon zest. Use your fingers or a wooden spoon to work the mixture into a shaggy dough. You should have big bits of butter while the flour won’t be entirely incorporated. That's great! Separate 1/2 cup of the shaggy dough and place it in a small bowl and add the oats. Work the oats into the mixture to create a crumble. Set aside.
With the remaining dough, continue to stir with the spoon until it forms a homogenous ball of soft dough. Place the dough in large chunks in the prepared pan. Add a bit of flour to your fingers and press the dough across the bottom of the pan in an even layer.
Bake the dough for 12 to 15 minutes until browned around the edges. While the crust bakes, assemble the filling.
To make the filling, in a medium bowl whisk together eggs, sugar, flour, lemon juice, yogurt, and salt. Whisk until smooth and well incorporated.
Carefully place drained cherry halves across the baked crust. If using frozen cherries do this one by one to ensure that you're getting just cherry and not a bunch of juice. This won’t be a problem if you’re using fresh cherries but frozen cherries must be thawed and well-drained. Place cherries across the surface of the baked crust and slowly pour the lemon filling over the cherries. Sprinkle the oat topping over the filling.
Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until set through. Give the pan a light shake and if the mixture is still very wavy in the center allow it to make for a few minutes long. A little jiggle is ok.
Cool to room temperature and chill for an hour before slicing. Store the bars, well wrapped in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.