BLUEBERRY CUSTARD BARS: MY CHOPPED CANADA UNEXPECTED INGREDIENT DISH!

Regular viewers of Chopped Canada will know that KitchenAid is a proud sponsor of the show.  The competing chefs trust KitchenAid appliances to help them create innovative dishes using the Chopped ingredients and to be honest, with some of the ingredients, they need all the help they can get!  And let’s not forget The Unexpected Ingredient in Chopped Canada Season 2 – always there to throw folks off their game when they least expect it. Whoever comes up with the Chopped Ingredients ideas certainly has a fun job – it’s obviously less fun for competitors trying to come up with ways to use their basket contents within the time constraints (it looks so stressful!).  You can’t tell me you don’t sit at home thinking how YOU would come up with a dish when you are watching the show – I know I do!

When the Chopped Canada unexpected ingredient basket arrived on my doorstep from KitchenAid, I was thrilled to find a bunch of ingredients I thought went really well together – blueberry jam, blueberry syrup, pancake/waffle mix and granola. And then there was my “unexpected ingredient” – “Cocofudge” (chocolate covered coconut bites with a fudge centre).  What on earth to do with those?

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I knew right away I wanted to make some sort of slice (although if I were on the show, I doubt I would have time to do such a dish!), using the pancake/waffle mix (essentially flour and sugar) with some granola as my base. I blitzed the granola to fine breadcrumb consistency then made a short crust type pastry and baked it. The KitchenAid Even-Heat™ True Convection System which provides consistent heating and even cooking across all three racks was perfect in making sure my slice base was evenly golden brown all over.

Once that was baked and smothered with some of the blueberry jam, I made a quick custard cream to top the short crust with. I incorporated the blueberry syrup into the custard, which worked well. For the top layer I chose to use the KitchenAid Even-Heat™ “Melt” function on my stovetop to gently melt the “Cocofudge” directly in a pan (so no “bain marie” required = less mess!). I poured the melted chocolate coconut mixture directly onto the custard and allowed this to set in the fridge. The topping was a bit crackly as you cut into it – I wished I would have thought to add some cream to smooth and soften the mix a little but I’m pretty confident, based on the way these were devoured by my taste testers, that this would definitely have impressed the Chopped Canada Season 2 judges!

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Check out my recipe below or get inspired by Chopped to use unexpected ingredients in your own culinary adventures!

Blueberry Custard Bars

INGREDIENTS

For the base
40g (1/4 cup) granola
140g (1 cup) pancake/ waffle mix
35g (1/4 cup) icing sugar
113g (1 stick) unsalted butter, cold
1 teaspoon vanilla

For the custard
75g unsalted butter, room temperature
200g (1.5 cups) icing sugar
2 tablespoons custard powder
2 tablespoons milk
1-2 teaspoons blueberry syrup

To assemble
4 tablespoons blueberry jam

For the topping
6 “Chocofudge” bites

DIRECTIONS

For the base
Pre-heat oven to 350˚F.
Grease a 9x9” brownie pan with butter then line with parchment paper.
Blitz the granola in a food processor until it’s roughly the size of large breadcrumbs (there will be some larger pieces, that’s ok).
Add the flour and icing sugar to the granola and process until thoroughly combined.
Add cubes of butter and process until it’s evenly distributed – you’ll have some butter nearly invisible and some pieces the size of peas.
Press the dough into the brownie pan, making sure to distribute evenly over the base of the pan.
Bake for 25 minutes, cool to room temperature on a wire rack.

For the custard
In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or in a bowl with an electric hand beater, beat the butter, icing sugar and custard powder until smooth.
Add the milk and beat until you have a smooth, spreadable paste.
Mix the blueberry syrup through with a rubber spatula.

For the topping
Melt the “Chocofudge” in a small pot on the “Melt” setting, stirring occasionally.

To assemble
Spread blueberry jam on top of the cooled base.
Spread the custard evenly over the shortbread base.
Pour over melted “Chocofudge” and refrigerate until the chocolate is set.

To serve
Use a sharp knife (wiping it clean with a hot cloth between slices) to slice the bars into 16-20 servings.

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