Thursday, April 19, 2012

Rhubarb Crumb Bars

This morning I was dreaming about writing a book called Rhubarb: the Under-appreciated Vegetable Fruit Plant. Luckily, that's as far as a I got, which is a good thing because it's a pretty lame title. It's a plant that can't make up its mind to which culinary variety it belongs; it looks and chops up an awful lot like celery, but is rarely eaten by Americans in anything but pie (though I've been longing to try this savory rhubarb dish). But I happen to love rhubarb. The tartness, the vibrant color, how well it pairs with orange or strawberry, how it feels like early summer when I eat it. 

To be completely honest, I cheated a little with this recipe. If you look closely, you'll notice it's remarkably similar to our Blueberry Crumb Bars. But I felt like these bars were good enough to deserve their very own post and not get tagged on to the end as a variation on blueberry. Rhubarb needs a little more respect in the world, and I'm happy to give it.

Rhubarb Crumb Bars
Recipe very loosely adapted from allrecipes.comPictures by Kelly

1 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup butter, chilled and cut into pieces
1 egg
1-2 tablespoons orange zest (about 1 lemon)
2-4 tablespoons fresh orange juice (about 1 lemon)
1/4 teaspoon salt

5-6 cups fresh rhubarb, sliced
1/2 cup white sugar
2 teaspoons cornstarch
  1. Preheat the oven to 375° F. Grease a 9x13 inch pan.
  2. In a medium bowl, stir together 1 cup sugar, flour, baking powder, salt, and orange zest. Use pastry cutter or your fingers to blend in the butter and egg. Dough will be crumbly. Pat half of dough into the prepared pan.
  3. In another bowl, stir together the sugar, cornstarch, and lemon juice. Gently mix in the rhubarb. Sprinkle the rhubarb mixture evenly over the crust. Crumble remaining dough over the rhubarb layer.
  4. Bake 35-40 minutes, or until top is slightly brown. Cool completely before cutting into squares.

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