Even though we’re Ten Apple Farm, this time of year we’re all about fresh strawberries. This recipe is a variation on Tin Pan Bakery’s Blueberry Cornmeal Bar recipe that you can find in our latest book, The New Portland, Maine Chef’s Table cookbook: Extraordinary Recipes from the Coast of Maine. These bars are delicious with strawberries OR blueberries — and in a few more weeks, we’ll have the fresh blueberries to make them both ways! Join us at Print: A Bookstore on July 16, 5-7pm for the launch celebration of the new book. It’s also a fundraiser for Full Plates Full Potential, so you can celebrate the new book, and help us fight child hunger in Maine at the same time! We’ll have some sample treats from the book at the event — maybe even some of these bars!
Preheat oven to 350. Grease a 9 x 13 inch pan.
In a small saucepan over low heat, melt the butter. Remove from heat and stir in the lemon zest and vanilla extract and set aside.
In a large bowl, combine 1 1/2 cups sugar, flour, cornmeal, baking powder, salt, and ground ginger. Whisk together the ingredients until they are throughly combined. Pour in the melted butter mixture and mix with a wooden spoon until no dry spots remain. Measure one cup of this mixture and set aside.
Press the remainder of the mixture into the prepared pan, pressing the dough firmly into the corners. Bake for 20 minutes, until golden brown. Remove from oven and increase oven temperature to 375.
While the base is baking, prepare the strawberries. In a medium size bowl, toss berries with remaining 1/2 cup of sugar, corn starch, and lemon juice.
When the base is completely baked, pour the strawberry mixture over it and use a spatula to spread berries across the entire surface. Take the reserved cup of cornmeal mixture and crumble it across the top of the berries, scattering the clumps as evenly as possible.
Bake 25-30 minutes, until top is lightly browned and the berries look jammy and slightly dried. Let the bars cool before cutting. Chill before serving, as the bars become soft and crumbly if left at room temperature.