The month of April 2021 is the 40 year anniversary of the first printing of the classic Company’s Coming cookbook 150 Delicious Squares (affiliate link). Written by Jean Paré, this book was the first in a long legacy of cookbooks. I thought it would be a fitting way to start off my Noshing on Nostalgia series with two recipes from my mom’s 150 Delicious Squares cookbook. My mom’s book is very well loved and well used. I don’t own many physical cookbooks anymore but I also have one of these books in my collection, albeit much less worn than my mom’s.
For this Noshing on Nostalgia series, I plan to do a recipe from Jean Paré and one that is hand-written in the nooks and crannies of empty space throughout the book. First, I’ll share a recipe from my mom. The recipe is found just inside the first few pages of the cookbook and the original name is Rhubarb Strawberry Dessert Squares, but within the recipe itself it says you can use any kind of pie filling and I had homemade Sour Cherry pie filling in the freezer begging to be used in this recipe. More on the pie filling down below.
Prior to deciding on this recipe to make for the series, I was going to make an Apricot Coconut Squares recipe but I messed it up and didn’t shoot a video or take any pictures the first time and I just didn’t feel like remaking it. I’ll post that recipe later on as a bonus though, once I make it again.
A few notes about the ingredients before we jump right in. Like I said above, any canned fruit pie filling will work but after my neighbour made the most delicious Sour Cherry Tarts for us last year I had to get the recipe from her and make some pie filling for ourselves. We picked over 15 pounds of Saskatchewan’s own varieties of sour cherries from her backyard shrubs thanks to a bumper crop last summer. We juiced some but the majority went into making cherry pie filling to be frozen and used later. The recipe she shared with me came from AllRecipes. It’s simple and very delicious.
This is a picture of Jonas helping me make different kinds of pie filling with the frozen fruit we had in our freezers.
And look at that gorgeous colour!
My mom’s original recipe says to use a 9 x 13 pan but as you may notice in the video, I tried that and the crust just wouldn’t press well into that size pan. I switched to an 8 x 8 pan and was able to get it to press in firmly. So because of that, I used less pie filling than I originally expected. I was thinking 2.5 cups worth would work but I ended up just using 2 cups of prepared pie filling.
Oh and a fun note about the video we shot for this recipe – my assistant/sous chef, Jonas, suggested that we make it as a time-lapse and I thought that was a great idea. So, without further ado, here’s the recipe + video for this nostalgic treat.
Sour Cherry Dessert SquaresCourse: DessertDifficulty: Easy
1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 cup gluten free flour blend
1/4 cup gluten free rolled oats
1/4 cup chopped nuts
1 540mL can of fruit pie filling of choice (see notes)
1 300mL can of sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup sour cream
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup water
- Preheat oven to 375 F.
- Cream butter and sugar. Add gluten free flour and chopped nuts. Press into the 8 x 8 pan and bake in preheated oven for 10-12 minutes. Remove from oven and proceed with the next steps.
- Carefully spread pie filling over the prepared crust.
- Combine sweetened condensed milk, sour cream, lemon juice and water in a medium bowl. Gently spread the mixture over the pie filling. Return to the heated oven and continue to bake for an additional 15-20 minutes.
- Remove from oven and let cool completely before cutting into squares to serve.
- Pie filling – Since I am using homemade pie filling I measured out 2 cups of my pie filling, which is almost the same amount in a large can of pie filling.
- Gluten free flour blend of choice – we don’t need to worry about getting any elasticity in this recipe so you don’t need to worry about adding any xanthan gum or guar gum to your gluten free flours. However, I used a 1:1 gluten free baking mix from Bulk Barn which does have xanthan gum added to it.
- Gluten free rolled oats – I use Only Oats brand but you can use any brand you prefer.
- Chopped nuts – I used chopped walnuts as I had plenty on hand.