Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Rhubarb meet Strawberries...

I love rhubarb! It is always hard for me to buy it in the supermarket. It is so small and beat up by the time it hits the shelves. Well, that and it is so hard to find. Shoved in a tiny space, just a few pitiful stalks displayed. I wonder if most people know the pleasure of some nice tangy rhubarb. If I had a yard I would grow my own. I have wonderfully fond memories of my Mother's monster plants and the lovely aeroma of rhubarb simmering in the kitchen. In pie or over shortcake, I love it alone and with it's good friend the strawberry. So, I was excited when I saw the recent edition of Everyday Food Magazine which featured rhubarb recipes. The recipe for rhubarb crumb bars caught my eye. I decided to try it with half rhubarb and half strawberries (though I was overly generous with the fruit), but still found it lacking. It was good, not too sweet, but more like a coffee cake than a bar cookie. I think I could have added even more fruit to give it more flavor. I never like to be lacking fruit...

Rhubarb Crumb Bars
For the streusel:
6 TBSP unsalted butter, melted, plus more for greasing the pan
1 c. a.p. flour, plus more for the pan
1/2 c. packed light brown sugar
1/4 tsp. salt

For the cake:
1/2 lb. rhubarb cut into 1/2-inch pieces (for strawberry-rhubarb go half and half with the fruit)
1 TBSP. light brown sugar
1 c. a.p. flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 c. unsalted butter at room temp.
1 c. confectioners' sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350, butter and flour an 8-inch square pan. Tap out excess flour.
Make streusel: Whisk together melted butter, brown sugar and salt. Add flour and mix with a fork until large crumbs form. (I found my mixture a bit wet, so I added a 1/2 c. of quick oats) Refrigerate till ready to use.
For the cake, in a medium bowl combine fruit with the brown sugar and 1/4 c. flour. In another medium bowl whisk the remaining flour, baking powder and salt. In your mixer bowl cream the sugar and butter till fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time till incorporated. Then, with the mixer on low, add the vanilla then slowly add the flour mixture. Spread this batter in the bottom of your prepared pan. Top with the fruit and flour mix and then top with streusel.
Bake cake unitl golden and a tooth pick comes out clean, about 45 to 50 minutes. (I had to cover mine with foil for the last 10 minutes to get the cake done) Let it cool completely in pan before cutting.

**You can also line the pan with parchment paper, then grease and flour that. This can make the bars easier to pull out and cut. I usually skip this step because my guys don't really care about presentation and I try to cut back on extra supplies when I can. :)
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