Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Oatmeal Streusel Ginger Berry Bars

Although my father was always a National League fan when it came to baseball, my mother adheres to Ted Williams' philosophy when it comes to freezing food.  Nothing can be frozen too long.  Roasts that were calves when Ted Williams still walked this earth reside in the back recesses of my mother's freezer, bargains that proved irresistible when the family still gathered for Sunday roasts. A bargain at today's prices will seem even more so when discovered a few years hence, shadowed with freezer burn perhaps, but still "perfectly edible."

Like my father, I am a fan of National League ball, the World Champion San Francisco Giants to be precise.  But like my mother, I tend to use the freezer like a time capsule.  There are some items that have been there for well over a year.  I believe we have some blocks of sauce for gado gado that we picked up when we were in Indonesia a half dozen years ago.  It's not that I am stocking up on bargains, but I sometimes don't get around to cooking something right away, so I shift it to the freezer.  Fortunately, we don't have a stand-alone freezer, so I am limited to what I can entomb.

I had had a bag of mixed berries from Trader Joe's in the freezer for some time.  I don't think they were as old as the bumbu gado gado, but I wouldn't testify to that under oath.  The berries seemed to have passed through several partial warming ages also, and the bag was half ice crystals when finally opened.  Still, they were perfectly edible, and featured prominently in these berry bars I made for Tjing's most recent knitting session.  

Oatmeal Streusel Ginger Berry Bars 

1 1/2 cups old fashioned rolled oats
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup butter, softened and cut into small pieces
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt 

1  16 oz. bag of frozen mixed berries, thawed
juice and zest from half a lemon
1 TBS fresh ginger, finely grated
2 TBS corn starch 

Preheat the oven to 350º F.

Mix the oats, flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt together.  Cut the butter into this mixture.  Reserve a third of this mixture.

Line a 9" x13" pan with baking parchment, leaving several inches on each side to enable you to lift it out later.  Press the bulk of the oatmeal mixture into the parchment lined pan.  Bake in the pre-heated oven for ten minutes.  Remove and allow to cool.

While the base is baking, prepare the berry filling.  In a saucepan simmer the berries,  lemon juice, zest, sugar and ginger for about eight to ten minutes.  Mix the corn starch with a little water to form a slurry.  Stir this into the berry mixture and simmer for another couple of minutes, until the mixture thickens.  Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly.

Pour and spread the berry filling over the cooled base.  Sprinkle the reserved oatmeal streusel mixture atop the filling.  Return the pan to the oven and bake for 20 to 25 minutes until golden brown.

Lift the parchment paper out of the pan and allow to cool completely on a wire rack before cutting. 

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