cherry pie bars
Nothing is more important this summer than baking these Cherry Pie Bars and getting them into your life. A sweet-tart fresh cherry filling, buttery lattice pie crust and sparkling sugar topping (plus a dollop of whipped cream!) make these bars absolutely irresistible. Make them for the upcoming holiday weekend or as a fun weekend baking project and enjoy the fruits of your labor!
Cherry Pie Bars
Can we talk about how it’s JULY ALREADY. You’ve probably already thought this yourself or heard others discussing it, but I have to say it’s insane. Here in Minnesota, summer has only really just started peeking its sunshine-y head out from the clouds, so we are just now beginning to complain about how our legs are sticking to our shorts and how our frizzy hair can no longer be tamed and how our farmer’s tans are getting more farmer’s tan-like and before we know it, it will be winter and we’ll have even more to complain about. That’s just how we do.
But I’m getting way ahead of myself, because today we’re not here to talk about the weather. Instead, we’re here to talk about something much more exciting and that is Cherry Pie Bars, aka, your new favorite way to eat pie. This is a fun and easy twist on the classic American dessert that is guaranteed to be the fan favorite at all your Fourth of July gatherings and beyond.
Testing This Cherry Pie Bars Recipe
I’ll admit it: It took me three tries to get these bars right. The first go, I tried to blind bake the bottom pie crust to see if it was a) necessary and b) effective. The short answer is no, it is neither. So, I pressed on. During the second round, I was worried that adding too many cherries or too much sugar would make for a runny filling, which isn’t a huge deal when you’re making a regular pie but in wanting to make cherry pie bars, I wanted a filling that could hold up to its name and form. Unfortunately, I went too far in the opposite direction and there were gaps in the bars where no cherry filling existed and the filling was dry and not sweet enough. But I didn’t give up.
On the third try, I bumped up the amount of filling (and sugar) and baked everything together (without a blind bake) and by Jove, it WORKED. And here we are.
How to Make Cherry Pie Bars
To conclude my saga, here’s how to make cherry pie bars:
1. Roll out two pie crusts to a large rectangle, then place said rectangle into a jelly roll pan — aka, a 15x10x1-inch pan, which I found to be the best size for the number of servings I wanted the recipe to yield.
2. Top with a filling of fresh sweet cherries, sugar (to break down and sweeten the filling), cornstarch (to stabilize), lemon juice and zest (for acid and brightness) and vanilla (for flavor).
3. Prepare a lattice crust (which I explain how to make in the recipe below, but for visual cues, I suggest following King Arthur Flour’s video tutorial on lattice pie crust, which shows you how to do it for a round pie but it’s the same gist for a rectangular pie/pie bars).
4. Top with egg wash and sparkling sugar, and bake. Once it’s done, let it cool completely before slicing — this ensures you get those nice, clean cuts.
Tips for the Best Cherry Pie Bars
These pie bars are a true showstopper and they make for the perfect summer dessert, but there are a few tips I need to share with you for full baking achievement:
1. You don’t need to use homemade pie crust here. In fact, because you’ll be spending some time pitting cherries, my advice is to skip the homemade pie crust and use one from the store. Baker’s blasphemy, you say! I say look, it’s summer, and we don’t want to spend half of our sunny days making a pie crust if we don’t need to. That being said, I know there are some die-hard homemade pie crust fans out there and for you, I recommend preparing a double batch of my go-to all-butter pie crust, the recipe for which you can find in my post for Deep-Dish Cinnamon Swirl Pumpkin Pie.
2. I really love the way a lattice top looks when the strips are cut with a pastry wheel, but don’t fret if you don’t have one or don’t want to buy one. A pizza cutter or a sharp knife does the trick, as well.
3. If you can find fresh sweet cherries at the grocery store, I highly recommend using them for this recipe! And while yes, pitting 3 1/2 pounds of cherries is kind of a pain, it is worth it (and even less of a pain if you have a cherry pitter). If you can’t find fresh cherries or don’t have a cherry pitter, you certainly can use frozen (thawed) cherries in this recipe — though I can’t speak to their success in relation to fresh cherries in this recipe, as I’ve only tested it with fresh cherries.
4. You might be looking at this pie and thinking to yourself, “This is basically a cherry slab pie,” and hey, you’re right! It basically is. So feel free to serve it as such with more square-like pieces, if that’s your jam. Just always remember the fresh whipped topping — it’s optional, but by optional I really mean DO IT.
I hope you love these bars as much as I do — they were well worth the efforts to get them here to share with you today. And on that note, I’m going to reward myself for all my hard work with another slice or threeve.Print
Delicious sweet-tart cherry pie bars made with a fresh cherry filling, buttery lattice crust and sparkling sugar topping. Top with a dollop of whipped cream and dig into the ultimate summer dessert.
- 2 boxes (14.1 oz each) refrigerated pie crusts, softened as directed on box
- 3 1/2 lbs fresh sweet cherries, pitted
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup cornstarch
- 1 1/2 teaspoons lemon zest
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
- 1 egg + 2 tablespoons milk (for egg wash)
- Sparkling sugar, for topping
- Whipped cream or whipped topping, thawed, for topping (optional)
- Heat oven to 425°F. On a lightly floured surface, stack two pie crusts on top of each other. Using a rolling pin, roll out crusts into one large rectangle, approximately 13×18 inches. Transfer to a 15x10x1-inch jelly roll sheet pan; press into bottom and sides.
- Meanwhile, add cherries to a large bowl. In a separate small bowl, whisk sugar and cornstarch until combined. Add to cherries along with lemon zest, lemon juice and vanilla. Stir to combine.
- On a lightly floured surface, stack and roll remaining two pie crusts to a 13×18-inch rectangle. Using a pastry wheel, pizza cutter or sharp knife, cut dough lengthwise into 3/4-inch strips. Arrange half of strips diagonally on top of pie approximately 1 inch apart. Fold back every other strip to a little past center. Place another long strip of dough perpendicular to other strips on top of pie, meeting right at the end of the folded strips in the center of the pie. Fold over the strips on top of the perpendicular strip; then, fold back alternating strips of dough in the same fashion as before. Lay another dough strip perpendicular as before, then fold strips back over. Repeat this process across top of pie until entire top of pie is covered in a lattice design (you may have a few pieces of pie crust left over). Gently press edges of crust together to seal. Use scissors or a knife to trim pie crust edges.
- In a small bowl, whisk egg and milk to make an egg wash. Gently brush egg wash over pie dough. Sprinkle with sparkling sugar.
- Bake pie 50-60 minutes, rotating halfway through and covering pie crust edges with foil if getting too brown, until filling is broken down and starting to bubble and pie crust is golden. Cool completely on a cooling rack before slicing, about 1 hour.
- Use a sharp serrated knife to slice pie into bars. Serve with whipped cream, if desired.
- Store bars covered at room temperature up to 3 days.
- If using frozen cherries, let cherries thaw to room temperature before using.
Keywords: fresh cherry pie filling, lattice crust, lattice top, slab pie, sheet pan pie