Monday, June 27, 2011

Easy Peasy Strawberry Rhubarb Bars

It all started with a question on Facebook. Did I have a rhubarb bar recipe? Nope.

I was sent the link for this Best Rhubarb Bars recipe and it got me thinking I should have a rhubarb recipe! So, I ever so lovingly adapted Krumkake’s recipe. I tried the original recipe keeping in mind as I prepared it what my own baking preferences are and what I wanted in my final adaptation.

I reduced the sugar because I like to do that and, more importantly, because strawberries in season are very sweet and you want their natural sweetness to shine. I added a splash of vanilla because I’m one of those bakers who cannot live without it. I guessed correctly that the touch of vanilla would be just right for the reduced sugar fruit mixture. And ok ok ok, rhubarb is technically a vegetable. I do know that! But, it’s a vegetable used as a fruit. Kinda like a tomato is a fruit used as a vegetable? Oh never mind! Let’s move on!!

The final result?? A bar with a buttery cookie crust and a fruit topping that is tangy sweet with a hint of vanilla. The bars are fab served with a dollop of whipped cream. But, in all fairness, I rarely object to whipped cream. Like vanilla, I want to share the love! These would be great served slightly warm with vanilla ice cream, though the bars don’t cut well warm. If you do choose to serve them warm, put each serving in a small bowl with the ice cream on top – that will hide any “oopsies” from cutting them too soon!

Easy Peasy Strawberry Rhubarb Bars
As adapted from Best Rhubarb Bars
8 to 10 servings

Preheat oven to 350°
11 x 7 glass pan (set aside)

Cookie Crust:
1 cup flour
1/4 cup plus 2 tbsp powdered sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup butter and slightly cooled

Fruit topping:
2 large eggs
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup flour
splash vanilla
2 cups rhubarb, small chop
2 cups quartered strawberries
(if the strawberries are small, cut in half)

Combine the cookie crust ingredients
Press the crust evenly into the pan.
Bake the crust for about15 minutes or until it is lightly browned.

While the crust is baking, prepare the fruit topping.

Combine the rhubarb and strawberries in a medium bowl and set aside.

Combine the flour and sugar and set aside.
Whisk the eggs well then combine with the flour and sugar.
Pour the egg mixture over the fruit and fold to combine, taking care not to mash the strawberries.

Pour the fruit mixture over the hot cookie crust and evenly distribute the fruit.

Optional: Working quickly with two forks – or your own fingers, if you wish – turn the strawberries over so that the seed sides are UP. This will give you a much prettier final result – the dark red of the large strawberries against the paler small chopped rhubarb looks so pretty.

Return the pan to the oven and bake for another 35-40 minutes. The bars are done when the cookie crust is a lovely golden brown and the fruit topping is set with little jiggle.

Cool the pan on a rack on the counter. The bars are best cut when completely cool. Serve alone, with lightly sweetened whipped cream or a scoop of vanilla ice cream.