This Red Tart Cherry Pie Bar recipe is sponsored by Oregon Fruit Products. However, all thoughts and opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that make Bakes by Brown Sugar possible.
When you want a combination of sweet and tart and crunchy these Red Tart Cherry Pie Bars are what you are looking for. These bars are an easy cherry dessert that allows you to enjoy the flavors of a cherry pie without the fuss.
- What You'll Need for This Recipe
- How to Make Tart Cherry Pie Bars
- How to Bake the Pie Bars
- How to Serve These Cherry Pie Bars
- Storing the Pie Bars
- Can I Freeze the Cherry Pie Bars
- National Cherry Month
- Pro Tips for Making This Recipe
- Recipe - Frequently Asked Questions
- If You Like This Recipe, Try These Recipes
- Red Tart Cherry Pie Bars
You’re going to love these scrumptious and mouthwatering cherry pie bars. The shortbread crumb topping is tender with a little crunch on the edges and the cherry filling is sweet and tart with beautiful bites of whole cherries.
The great thing about using Oregon Fruit Red Tart Cherries for this recipe is that the delicious tangy flavor of the cherries pairs so well with the sweet buttery shortbread that is used for the base and the crumble topping. These will be the best cherry pie bars you will ever taste.
The Red Tart Cherries from Oregon Fruit are packed in water with no added sugar which means you get to determine the sweetness in the final bake. The filling in these scrumptious pie bars is a little on the tart side with the addition of lemon juice to elevate the natural tartness of the cherries.
What You'll Need for This Recipe
Here is what you’ll need for these easy cherry pie bars:
- Oregon Fruit Red Tart Cherries: The taste of these Red Tart Cherries is amazing and go so well with the buttery shortbread base and crumble.
- Granulated Sugar: Add sweetness to the tart cherry filling and the shortbread crumb base and topping.
- Lemon Juice: Fresh lemon juice enhances the natural tartness of the cherries
- Cornstarch: Cornstarch is used to thicken the cherry filling
- Pure Vanilla Extract: Adds a wonderful flavor to the tart cherry filling.
- Unbleached All-Purpose Flour: The flour is the main ingredient in the shortbread base and topping.
- Unsalted Butter: Use room-temperature unsalted butter for this recipe. If you’re using salted butter, omit the salt in the crumb base recipe.
- Baking Powder: A little baking powder adds lift to the shortbread base and topping and makes it a little softer.
- Kosher Salt: The salt elevates the flavor of the other ingredients in both the cherry filling and the shortbread crust.
- Sweetened Shredded Coconut: Cherry and coconut is a delicious combination so I added a little shredded coconut to the shortbread crumble topping. If you don’t have shredded coconut or are allergic you can make the recipe without it.
How to Make Tart Cherry Pie Bars
This delicious cherry pie bar recipe consists of two elements - the tart cherry filling and the buttery shortbread crust which is used for the base and the crumble topping. Both are easy to make and ready in minutes.
Make the Red Tart Cherry Filling. Start by making the tart cherry filling. You’ll need two cans of Oregon Fruit Red Tart Cherries. Set a strainer over a large bowl and pour the cherries into the strainer to drain the liquid from the cherries. Reserve the liquid for drinks or use it to make ice cubes.
Place the Red Tart Cherries in a 2 or 3-quart saucepan. Add the sugar, cornstarch, salt, and lemon juice. Stir together and let sit for 5 minutes. This will give time for the cornstarch to dissolve and for the sugar to draw liquid from the cherries. There should be quite a bit of liquid in the saucepan which is what you want.
Cook the cherry mixture over medium-high heat and bring it to a boil, stirring occasionally to keep the mixture from burning. Once it starts to boil, you’ll see large bubbles popping on the surface. Reduce the temperature to medium and cook for another minute stirring constantly.
Remove the saucepan from the heat and let it sit to the side while you make the shortbread crumb mixture.
Make the Shortbread Crust. Melt the butter over low heat. Melting the butter over low heat will reduce evaporation and the butter won't splatter all over your cooktop.
Place the flour, baking soda, salt, and sugar in a large bowl and whisk together to thoroughly combine the ingredients.
Add the warm, melted butter to the dry ingredients and mix until there are no more white bits of the flour mixture. The shortbread dough should be slightly crumbly but easily hold together when you squeeze a small amount together in your hand.
Set aside a portion of the shortbread dough for the topping into a small bowl and mix it together with the sweetened shredded coconut.
How to Bake the Pie Bars
Press the remaining dough into the bottom of the pan. Bake the shortbread in a 350 degrees F oven until the edges are golden brown.
Remove the pan from the oven and spoon the cherry filling over the warm crust. Top the cherry filling with the shortbread coconut topping.
Bake the bars until the cherry filling is bubbly around the edges of the pan and the crumble topping has turned a light golden brown.
Remove the pan from the oven. Place the pan on a wire rack. Let the pie bars cool to room temperature. How do you know if they’re at room temperature? If you touch the top of the bars, it will be cool to the touch.
Refrigerate the bars for at least 2 hours or overnight. Refrigerating the bars will make them easier to cut. Refrigeration will also help the fruit filling finish setting.
How to Serve These Cherry Pie Bars
Remove the pan from the refrigerator. Use the parchment paper sling to lift the bars onto a cutting board. Cut the bars into 12 small bars or 9 very large bars.
Storing the Pie Bars
Store the bars at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 2 days. After two days store the bars in the refrigerator for up to 7 days.
Can I Freeze the Cherry Pie Bars
To freeze the bars, cut them into the desired size. Layer the bars in a freezer-safe container, with wax paper between the layers and place the container in the freezer. To thaw the bars, place the container in the refrigerator 24 hours before you’re ready to eat the bars.
National Cherry Month
February is National Cherry Month. Why do we celebrate in February when cherries are in season from May to August? Because this month commemorates when Japan gifted 3000 cherry trees to the United States in 1912 as a symbol of friendship between the two nations. The park where the trees were planted still stands today in Washington DC.
These bars are a great and easy way to celebrate the month and Oregon Fruit ensures that you can enjoy it with their great-tasting Red Tart Cherries
Pro Tips for Making This Recipe
- You’ll get the best results by using a scale to weigh your flour. Weighing your flour will ensure that you don’t have too much, which will result in a dry shortbread crumb that won’t hold together. Too little flour will result in a crumb that falls apart.
- Start with room temperature butter, which in this case will be between 65-70 degrees F. Using room-temperature butter will reduce the amount of splatter as the butter melts.
- Set the oven rack in the bottom third of the oven to ensure the bottom and top crumble bake evenly and don’t brown too quickly.
Recipe - Frequently Asked Questions
Yes you can make these bars with sweet dark cherries. I recommend starting with 1/4 cup of sugar for the cherry filling and then adding additional sugar 1 tablespoon at a time until the desired level of sweetness is achieved.
Yes, you can use an 8x8-inch square baking pan. The bottom crust and cherry filling layer will be thicker and the cook time for the cherries may be longer.
I have not tested this recipe with gluten-free flour, so I don't know how they will turn out if made with gluten-free flour.
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If You Like This Recipe, Try These Recipes
Red Tart Cherry Pie Bars
Red Tart Cherry Filling
- 2 cans Oregon Fruit Red Tart Cherries
- 1/2 cup (100 grams) sugar
- 2 tablespoons (18 grams) cornstarch
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 5/8 cups (336 grams) unbleached all-purpose flour
- 3/4 cup (150 grams) granulated sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 16 tablespoons (227 grams) unsalted butter melted plus extra to brush the sides and bottom of the baking pan
- 3 tablespoons sweetened shredded coconut
Red Tart Cherry Filling
- Set a medium coarse strainer over a large bowl. Pour the contents of two cans of Oregon Fruit Red Tart Cherries into the strainer and the let cherries drain for about 5 minutes.
- Pour the Red Tart Cherries into a 2 or 3-quart saucepan. Add the sugar, cornstarch, kosher salt, and lemon juice. Stir the mixture together until the cornstarch is dissolved. Let the mixture sit for 5 minutes. At the end of 5 minutes there should be liquid in the saucepan.
- Place the pan over medium high heat and bring the cherry mixture to a boil, stirring occasionally. Once the mixture comes to a boil, reduce the heat to medium and cook for another minute, stirring constantly. The cherry filling should be noticeably thicker and have a clear glossy shiny appearance. Remove the cherries from the heat and stir in the vanilla extract.
- Set the cherry filling aside (leave it in the saucepan) and make the cherry pie bar crust.
Make the Shortbread Crust and Topping
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- Lightly brush with melted butter the sides and bottom of a 9x9-inch square pan. This step will help the parchment paper stick to the pan. Take two long strips of parchment paper and line the pan with the parchment paper so there is overhang on all four sides. Lightly brush the bottom and sides of the parchment paper with butter. Make sure to get the corners where the pan is exposed so the cherry filling doesn’t stick to the corners.
- Melt the butter over low heat. This step will take a few minutes but melting the butter on low heat will reduce evaporation. While the butter is melting, place the flour, sugar, kosher salt, and baking powder in a large bowl and whisk together for 30 seconds.
- Pour the hot melted butter into the flour mixture. Use a spatula to combine the butter with the dry ingredients until there are no white bits of the flour mixture left. You should have about 655 grams of crust. Measure 225 grams (or about 1 cup) into a separate bowl. Add the shredded the coconut to the reserved topping and toss the ingredients together.
- Press the remaining crust into the prepared pan until it appears even thickness across the bottom of the pan.
- Bake the crust for 21-23 minutes or until the edges of the crust are golden brown.
Assemble the Red Tart Cherry Pie Bars
- Remove the crust from the oven (leave the oven on at 350 degrees F) and spoon the cherry filling over the baked crust. Use an offset spatula to spread it into an even layer. Sprinkle the reserved crumble mixture over the cherry filling.
- Bake the cherry pie bars for 20-22 minutes until the filling is bubbly along the edges of the pan and the topping is a light golden brown. Remove the pan from the oven and place it on a wire rack to cool. Run an offset spatula or butter knife along the edges of the pan to loosen the crust from the parchment paper.
- Let the red tart cherry pie bars cool to room temperature, then store them in a refrigerator. It will be easier to lift the bars from the pan and cut them when they are cold.
- Use the parchment paper sling to lift the bars from the pan. Cut the bars into sixteen (16) 2-1/8x2-1/8 -inch squares or into nine (9) 3x3-inch squares.
- The bars are best when eaten within the first two days.
- The bars can sit at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 2 days or be stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up 10 days.