Rhubarb Bars: like a lemon bar, but with a bright and juicy rhubarb twist!
The other weekend, I had the pleasure of going to Rhode Island with my family. One morning, we walked into town- an intersection with an ice cream stand, corner store, sandwich shop, and town green.
That day on the green vendors were set up selling arts and crafts, produce, and knick knacks. As I was browsing, huge ruby stalks lay on a nearby table, calling my name.
They were the most red rhubarbs I had ever seen. I just had to get them. So I grabbed the two biggest stalks on the table and pulled out my wallet. I spent all weekend dreaming up different rhubarb concoctions and settled on these Rhubarb Bars.
The cream cheese shortbread crust tastes more like a cookie than a shortbread, and provides a rich base for the light curd above. The curd is bright, citrusy, and sweet. The rhubarb shines through, its springy taste melting on your tongue.
They’re the perfect size for snacking, but beware. My step dad ate about 10 in 2 days 🙂
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For the rhubarb puree
- 3 cups chopped rhubarb
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup water
For the cream cheese shortbread
- 5 oz low-fat cream cheese
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 1/3 cups flour
For the rhubarb curd
- 4 eggs
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1 cup rhubarb puree
- red dye
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 3 tablespoons lemon juice
- zest of 1 lemon
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup flour
- In a medium pot, combine chopped rhubarb, sugar, and water and heat over medium heat for 10-12 minutes, or until the rhubarb is completely broken down. Transfer mixture to a blender and puree until smooth. Set aside.
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a 9x13 baking dish with parchment paper and set aside.
- In a standing mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, cream the butter, cream cheese, sugar, salt and vanilla extract until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Turn mixer to low speed and incorporate flour.
- Press dough firmly onto the bottom of the baking dish, spreading evenly to the edges. Bake for 15 minutes.
- While the shortbread is cooking, make the rhubarb curd! In a large bowl, whisk all ingredients except for the flour. Use as much red dye as you'd like, and remember that the color will fade a bit during cooking. Once mixed, whisk in the flour.
- Pour the rhubarb curd on top of the cream cheese shortbread, then bake for an additional 20 minutes to set the rhubarb.
- Cool bars for at least 4 hours in fridge, then cut and top with powdered sugar!