Everyone is familiar with lemon bars and maybe even lime bars, but I wanted to use rhubarb to achieve the same dessert. The rhubarb is tart and tangy and I thought it would be a great replacement in this dessert. The only problem was that rhubarb is thicker than lemon or lime juice, so I needed to make sure that the ratio of ingredients would allow the filling to set. I looked all over the net to see if someone had done this already, and I found only one recipe the Quinces and the Pea.
When I made my bars, they did not turn out a lovely light pink color, as you can see. I think this is a combination of two things: 1) my rhubarb was not super pink in color; and 2) the pastured eggs I had had very orange yolks. Regardless of the color though, the rhubarb flavor shines through and they were really good. I brought these to a picnic and everyone enjoyed them. I slightly modified the original recipe to the one below. I cut down the amount of sugar, and still thought they were a touch on the sweet side. Everyone else seemed to think they were the right amount of sweetness. Give these bars a try before rhubarb season is over.
4 cups diced rhubarb
3/4 cup granulated sugar, preferably unbleached/raw
1 tablespoon water
1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
12 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes, plus more for greasing
zest of one lemon
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
2/3 cup powdered sugar
1-3/4 cups prepared rhubarb compote
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup granulated sugar, preferably unbleached/raw
5 eggs, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons cornstarch
Make the compote by combining the compote ingredients in a saucepan and cooking over medium heat. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer, stirring occasionally. Simmer until the mixture thickens and the rhubarb falls apart. Let cool slightly and then puree until smooth with an immersion blender or in a regular blender.
Make the crust by combining the crust ingredients in a food processor. Pulse until the mixture comes together and looks like coarse meal. Grease a 9x13" baking pan and then pour the crust mixture in. Spread evenly and press it down firmly with your hands to make the crust. Place in the refrigerator for 15 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Then make the filling by whisking together all of the filling ingredients in a large bowl until well-combined.
Remove the crust from the refrigerator and gently poke it (not all the way through) with a fork in a few places to help keep it from bubbling up. Bake for about 20-25 minutes, until it just begins to turn golden. Then remove and reduce the oven temperature to 325 degrees. Pour the filling into the crust. Gently, but firmly, knock the pan onto the counter to remove any air bubbles. Bake for another 20-23 minutes, until the filling is just set in the middle.
Remove from the oven and let cool completely, or place in the refrigerator. Serve cold or at room temperature cut into squares. Dust with powdered sugar, if desired.
What was I cooking one year ago: chickpea and eggplant phyllo tarts
Two years ago: buttermilk pancakes