This post is in partnership with Utah Red Tart Cherry Marketing Board.
Montmorency Tart Cherry Pie Bars
Sweet, buttery, delicious cherry pie bars! These bars offer best parts of cherry pie in a portable bar form, with a delightfully buttery, almost shortbread like crust, delicious tart cherry pie filling that offers just the right amount of sweet and tanginess, and a sweet, crumbly, oatmeal topping. Then is finished off with a powdered sugar icing drizzle, which just takes it over the top.
These are the treats you will crave over and over again. In fact, I took them on a hiking trip with friends, and they named them “cherry bombs” because they are a flavor explosion, and no one could get enough of them.
Simple ingredients, a quick process to make them, and seriously mouthwatering results make these cherry pie bars a fast favorite. They are great for taking to a party, serving as a dessert, or making as a fun treat for after school!
The bars are delicious, and the oatmeal crumble and glaze really give them that little something extra. It is like a cross between cherry pie and a cherry crumble, and somehow the combo of the two makes them greater than either are on their own. Even my non-cherry loving son was blown away and wanted more!
Montmorency Tart Cherries
So let’s talk about what makes them delicious. And let’s start with the cherries. For this recipe, I encourage you to look for and use only US grown Montmorency tart cherry products. Montmorency tart cherries, also referred to as sour cherries, are the most common variety of tart cherries grown in the U.S. and are available year-round in dried, juice, canned and frozen forms. I used a cherry pie filling!
Usually, I like to keep things eazy peazy, and say use what you can find, etc. But in this case, the right cherries make a huge difference. Montmorency tart cherries are the preferred cherry for baking, with their ruby-red color, which “pops” in baked goods and will not bleed like many other types of cherries, plus their amazing sour-sweet flavor. They are the perfect choice. And they are even a homegrown superfruit with science-based benefits.
While this is a dessert, there are actually many great health benefits associated with U.S. grown Montmorency tart cherries. Research suggests Montmorency tart cherries may help aid exercise recovery, heart health, sleep, arthritis, and gout.
What You Need to Make Montmorency Tart Cherry Pie Bars
These cherry pie bars are basically made of 3 components. The base, which is a buttery shortbread like crust. The pie filling and oatmeal crumble, which is sweet and crunchy, and the powdered sugar glaze on top! Here is what you need to make them:
- Unsalted butter
- Granulated sugar
- All-purpose flour
- Baking powder
- Salted butter
- Brown sugar
- Baking powder
- Quick oats
Powdered Sugar Glaze
- Powdered sugar
- Vanilla extract
- Heavy cream or milk
How to Make Montmorency Tart Cherry Pie Bars
Making these cherry pie bars is simple. They come together quickly and easily. Here is how:
Step One: Make the Shortbread Base
Cream the butter and sugar together, then add the other ingredients, and mix it all together until nice and smooth.
Once it is mixed together, press it into a 9 x 13 baking dish that is lined with parchment, and set aside.
Step Two: Add the Tart Cherries
Pick your favorite tart cherry pie filling, and add it on top of the shortbread crust. You want about 30 ounces, or one jar (1 1/2 cans) of pie filling. And you want to look for U.S. grown tart cherries.
I use Montmorency tart cherries, grown locally here in Utah, which is such a treat. These ruby red morsels pack a punch of bright, tangy and intense flavor that ends on a sweet-tart note. They are the perfect addition to this pie bar, because you have sweet, buttery, tart, and so many well rounded flavors. The tart cherries have a very distinct sweet-tart profile that really makes them the star of the pie bar!
Imported tart cherries are boxed in shipping containers and travel halfway around the world, whereas locally grown Montmorency tart cherries go straight from an American farm to your local grocery store. So choose U.S. grown.
Step Three: Make Oatmeal Crumble
Now you assemble the oatmeal crumble by combining everything and cutting in the butter, to form a crumbly, almost sandlike mixture. Which you then pour right on top of the cherries.
Step Four: Bake the Cherry Pie Bars then Cool
Then you simply bake the bars. Bake at 350 degrees F for about 40 minutes. You want it to be slightly golden on top and bottom.
Once baked, remove from oven, and let cool completely.
Step Five: Cut and Glaze the Cherry Pie Bars
After the bars have cooled and set up, you can pop them in the fridge for about 10 minutes to help them set up further, and whisk together the glaze.
Then slice into pieces, and glaze as desired. A drizzle of the powdered sugar glaze really takes these over the top. Pulling it all together so you get crunchy, buttery, sweet, and tangy all in one.
Step Six: Enjoy
Now for the best part! Eating them. Once they are cooled and set up, they are easy to eat and enjoy. I recommend making them a little ahead of when you need them so they have plenty of time to cool and set up.
Tart Cherry FAQ’s
This recipe is so perfect for a delightful dessert and is really quite simple to make, while also offering tons of fun benefits. So let’s take a look at some of the FAQ’s for Tart Cherries:
- How can I identify U.S. cherry products vs. foreign products at the store? There are a few ways you can find U.S.-grown cherry products, one, look for Montmorency tart cherries, which are an American-grown fruit that’s grown by hard-working, local, American farmers. Imported tart cherries may travel more than 5,000 miles before reaching your grocery store, but Montmorency tart cherries are grown locally right here in the U.S.. While it can be tricky to know if they are U.S. grown or imported, you can look for the U.S. grown labelling, or the Montmorency variety.
- When can I get tart cherries? U.S.-grown Montmorency tart cherries are harvested in the summer, yet they are available year-round in multiple forms: dried, frozen, canned, juice and juice concentrate. They are bright red when harvested in the summer and retain that bold color dried, frozen, canned or juiced. Look for them in your local grocery stores in the freezer, dried, canned, and juice sections of the store.
- Why are they called sour cherries? Because they are more sour than a Bing or other varietal of sweet cherry. They have a very distinctive flavor. The distinctive sour-sweet taste and deep red color of U.S.-grown Montmorency tart cherries are due to the concentration of anthocyanins, a type of polyphenol in the flavonoids family. Nearly all of the health research on tart cherries has been conducted on the Montmorency variety instead of any other type of cherry.
- Can I get FRESH Montmorency tart cherries? TART CHERRIES ARE NOT TYPICALLY EATEN FRESH. You probably won’t find Montmorency tart cherries in the produce section of your grocery store, as they are so delicate and have a short shelf life. However, they are always farm fresh since they are picked at the peak of ripeness in summer and quickly dried, frozen, canned or bottled to deliver a delicious product year-round. I got to attend an event where I got to learn all about how Utah grown Montmorency tart cherries are grown, harvested, and processed for consumption. It was fascinating.
- Where can I learn more? For recipes and nutrition research, visit choosecherries.com.
- How can I use Montmorency tart cherries besides pie bars? Well you are in luck because these sour cherries have an appealing sour-sweet flavor that is in demand. Sour foods and beverages are on-trend and tart cherries are a popular ingredient due to their unique flavor profile health benefits, and versatility in sweet and savory applications. Try them in a trail mix, a smoothie, a bbq sauce, and more.
Tips and Tricks
Making this recipe is Eazy Peazy, here are a few tips and tricks for making it turn out great every time.
- Prepare Pan Ahead of Time: Take time to line and prep your baking dish, you want a 9×13 glass baking dish for best results.
- Preheat Oven: The baking time is important, and you want to start with a pre-heated oven for best results.
- Let Oatmeal Crumble be Crumbly: Do not over-mix your oatmeal crumble. There should be pockets or beads of butter coated in the sugar, flour, and oats, which is what gives it that crumbly, crisp topping.
- Cool Completely: You want these bars to set up so you can hold them, which means give it time to cool, and even pop them in the fridge for 10 minutes before serving.
- Glaze As Desired: Use as much or as little glaze as you like.
Make Ahead and Storage
How to make this recipe ahead of time:
Prepare as instructed.
Package in an airtight container and refrigerate up to 1 week.
Freeze in an airtight container for 2-3 months.
Cherry Pie Bars
- 9×13 glass baking dish
- 29.5 ounces sour cherry pie filling use US grown Montmorency Tart Cherries
- 1 cup unsalted butter
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup salted butter softened
- 1/2 cup Flour + 2 more Tbs if needed
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup quick oats
- 1/2 cup powdered sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1-2 Tablespoons heavy cream or milk
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees, and prepare a 9 x 13 baking dish by lining it with parchment paper. Set aside.
- In a large bowl or mixing bowl, cream together unsalted butter, granulated sugar, and vanilla for your cherry pie bar base.
- Once butter, sugar and vanilla are creamed together, sift in flour, baking powder, and salt, and mix until combined and smooth.
- Gently press the base into the prepared parchment lined baking dish, until it is evenly spread across the bottom.
- Pour the tart cherry pie filling over the base, and spread it out evenly. Set aside
- In a separate bowl, add all of the oatmeal crumble ingredients together, and use a fork to combine, mixing until just incorporated, but still lumpy, and crumbly.
- Scoop crumble over the top of the sour cherry pie filling, covering it evenly.
- Bake for 35-45 minutes, until lightly browned, and crust is cooked through.
- Remove from oven and let cool completely.
- Once cooled, whisk together powdered sugar, heavy cream (or milk), and vanilla extract, until combined, and at the desired consistency.
- Drizzle glaze over the cooled bars, and then refrigerate for about 10 minutes to let them set up.
- Slice into 16 bars, and serve. They will stay fresh 2-3 days outside of the fridge, a week if refrigerated, and 2-3 months if frozen.
Our recipe card software calculates these nutrition facts based on averages for the above ingredients, different brands, and quality of produce/meats may have different nutritional information, always calculate your own based on the specific products you use in order to achieve accurate macros for this recipe.
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