Rhubarb Bars with a Smattering of Strawberries - A Favourite Builder's Feast

I love rhubarb.  In any form.  Roasted, combined with other fruits, as compote, in cakes and as a savoury side to fish or chicken. In a nutshell, cook it and I will eat it.  My husband however, does not share my love for the beautiful red stalks.  Apparently they are in the same family as celery - also not tolerated.  However, after many years, I am slowly winning him over......

Rhubarb Bars
Rhubarb Bars

Luckily, my mother, who imbued me with a love of baking, also passed on the ‘I love rhubarb’ gene, so I am always able to eat rhubarb treats at her house.  She actually introduced me to today’s Builder’s Feast of Rhubarb Bars.  The crunchy shortcake base with tart fruity top are totally irresistible.  For the team on site, these rhubarb bars were not new today - during our building project together they were deemed in the Top 3 favourites for our meetings.

The original recipe, which over the years I have slightly adapted, comes from a fabulous baking book that I have had for as long as I can remember.

any book with this title has to be a winner
any book with this title has to be a winner

Anything with the title The Rosie’s Bakery All Butter Fresh Cream Sugar Packed Baking Bookhas to be a winner.  I really have not found another bar recipe to rival this one, therefore when in rhubarb season, I feel compelled to make it as often as I can (including for site meetings), and even more compelled to share the recipe.  With anyone who may slightly like rhubarb.

Try them.  They are amazing.

Rhubarb Bars
Rhubarb Bars

Rhubarb Bars with a Smattering of Strawberries adapted from The Rosie’s Bakery All Butter Fresh Cream Sugar Packed Baking Book by Judy Rosenberg

I have adapted the recipe by adding strawberries (or sometimes bluberries, raspberries or blackberries depending on what is on hand), vanilla extract and a little lemon zest to the fruit topping.  I have also used the base for many other bar recipes.  Feel free to adpat to your heart’s delight!

Base

115g (1 cup) plain flour

60g (5 tbsp) icing (confectioner’s) sugar

pinch of salt

100g (1 stick) unsalted butter at room temp cut into pieces

1 egg white for glazing base

Topping 1 large egg at room temp

170g (3/4 cup) caster (granulated) sugar

30g (2 1/2 tbsp) plain flour

pinch of salt 1 tsp vanilla extract

1 tsp lemon zest (or orange zest when using forced rhubarb in autumn/winter)

350g (2 1/2 cups) sliced rhubarb (1cm, 1/4inch thick)

100g (1 cup) approx strawberries, quartered, or any berries you have to hand

Preheat oven to 180C (350F)

Grease and line a 20cm (8 inch) square baking pan

Make base:

Combine flour, icing sugar and salt in food processor and process for a few seconds Add butter and pulse until dough comes together 20-30 times

Tip dough into prepared pan and press into corners Glaze it with the egg white by pouring it over the dough and tipping the pan around spreading the white over the surface. 

Tip out any excess Bake in centre of the oven for 20-25 minutes until golden brown.

As soon as the base is cooked, remove from the oven and put in the fridge to cool while you assemble the top.  (I have been known to skip this cooling stage when in a rush, but if you can spare the 10 extra minutes it is worth it)

Rhubarb Bars
Rhubarb Bars
Rhubarb Bars
Rhubarb Bars

Assemble Topping:

Whisk together egg, sugar, flour, salt, vanilla and zest in a medium sized bowl.

Don’t be alarmed, it will seem like a very small, thick spread, but plough on, it will work! Add fruit and mix together.

Spread rhubarb mixture evenly over base and cook for 45-50 minutes until set and slightly golden

Rhubarb Bars
Rhubarb Bars
Rhubarb Bars
Rhubarb Bars
Rhubarb Bars
Rhubarb Bars

Cool completely before cutting into squares

Enjoy!