I’ve had these on my mind for awhile. The perfect marriage of tart & tart, lemon and rhubarb were made for each other. All you need to do here is chop fresh rhubarb (fairly finely, or at least not in enormous chunks – go for the size you might cut celery to add to a salad) and scatter it over a baked shortbread base before pouring the lemon filling on top. Those thin red stalks of tender rhubarb are perfect here.
My standard shortbread base has half the butter of a traditional one – generally it’s 1/2 cup butter to 1 cup flour, and I use 1/4 cup butter to a scant cup of flour. (It’s easy and almost instantaneous in a food processor.) The result is a crumbly mixture that doesn’t appear to be moist enough to work, but pat it into the pan and it totally does.
It will crack a bit as it bakes – that’s OK. You won’t notice one bit once the filling is poured overtop. And that trimming of just 1/4 cup of butter equals about 44 grams of fat and 400 calories. So why not? You’ll never notice the difference.
I cut these while they were still a little warm – everyone was outside waiting for dessert. The secret to cutting gooey, sticky-filled bars like this cleanly? Freeze them first. Then flip them out of their 8″x8″ pan onto a cutting board and cut into neat squares or bars. Set them on a serving tray and they’ll thaw in about 20 minutes. Everyone will ask you how you cut your bars so cleanly.
Rhubarb Lemon Bars
1/4 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup sugar
1 scant cup all-purpose or whole wheat flour
1 cup sugar
2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp. baking powder
2 large eggs
grated zest of 1 lemon
juice of 1 lemon (about 3 Tbsp.)
1 1/2 cups fairly finely chopped fresh or frozen rhubarb
icing sugar for sprinkling
Preheat oven to 350°F.
In a medium bowl, stir together the butter and sugar until creamy. Add flour and salt and stir until well combined and crumbly.
Press into the bottom of an 8” x 8” pan that has been sprayed with nonstick spray. Bake for 8-10 minutes, until just barely golden around the edges.
In the same bowl (no need to wash it), combine the sugar, flour, baking powder and salt. Add eggs, lemon zest and lemon juice and stir until well blended and smooth.
Sprinkle the rhubarb evenly over the base, and pour the lemon filling over top. Bake for 30 minutes, or until golden and set. Cool completely in the pan on a wire rack before cutting or freezing. Cut into squares or bars, and sprinkle with icing sugar before serving.
Makes 12 bars or 16 squares.
I’ve decided to share a few links to rhubarby things that have been inspiring me lately. If you’re looking for inspiration for your ginormous rhubarb plant, or that healthy, ruby-red one down the alley your neighbours seem to be neglecting, Gwendolyn has some pretty tasty looking rhubarb pudding cakes, Tara has a lovely rhubarb story, and Simple Bites served up a rhubarb upside-down cake.
And Lottie + Doof have an absolutely heart-stopping rhubarb raspberry crostata that has just shot to the top of my must-make list.
July 03 2011 09:57 pm | cookies & squares