rhubarb

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERABright and crisp, the very fruit of spring! Rhubarb makes the long wait of winter worth it. There’s boat loads you can do with rhubarb. Some people gnaw on it directly, through most will add something sweet to help soften it’s mega tart punch. Brace yourself, recipes for rhubarb often have lots of sugar.

At the farm, we like to bake with rhubarb – scones, coffee cakes, carrot cake (you know, instead of pineapple, add rhubarb. so dang good). By adding rhubarb to an already sorta sweet treat, you don’t need to add additional sugar.  We haven’t tried this out yet, but it seems like an awful good idea: Rhubarb Cupcakes.

Saveur has a gallery of Best Rhubarb Recipes with links to a range of recipes that you absolutely shouldn’t miss. Pies and chutneys and cocktails, and compote, granita, oh my. Check out this link to a recipe for water bath canned Orange Rhubarb Marmalade.

Rhubarb Lemon Bars
This recipe is one adapted to add more lemon flavor and rhubarb, originally from The Gourmet Cookbook

Crust
2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
12 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into chunks

Filling
3/4-1 cup rhubarb, chopped
1/4 cup lemon juice
3 large eggs
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons heavy cream
2 teaspoons grated lemon zest, from about 2 lemons
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice, from about 2 lemons
1/8 teaspoon salt

Powdered Sugar for garnish.

Preheat the oven to 350F, with a rack in the middle. You’ll use a 9 inch square pan, but you can leave it ungreased.

For the crust: In a food processor, pulse together all of the ingredients except the butter to combine. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture looks like course meal. Pour the dough into your pan and press it onto the bottom. Bake for about 20 minutes, until the crust is just barely golden brown.

In the meantime, make the filling: In a small sauce pan, put chopped rhubarb and 1/4 cup lemon juice. Cook this down to slop-consistency, remove from heat and let cool. Whisk together all of the ingredients, including rhubarb-slop for the filling until combined. Be sure there are no lumps of flour left in the mixture.

When the crust has been partly baked, remove it from the oven and pour the filling into the still-warm crust. Return to the oven until the filling is set, about 16 minutes. Transfer the whole pan to a rack to cool. Cover and refrigerate until cold. This will take at least 4 hours, so you may as well give yourself overnight.

To serve, cut the bars and sprinkle with powdered sugar.


Storage tip: Wrap in a damp towel and place in an open container in the refrigerator. Rhubarb freezes well for use later in the year. There’s nothing like rhubarb in December. I’d suggest chopping the stems to 3/4″-1″ chunks, laying the pieces out on a cookie sheet in a single layer to freeze, then transferring and storing it all in a freezer bag.

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