I have been daydreaming about this Rhubarb bars recipe since I have received my Southern Living May issue a couple of weeks ago. You may be asking, why have I waited this long to make them, right? Just have a quick look at them!
Three layers of deliciousness: a crunchy base topped with a generous layer of sweet, fresh strawberries and rhubarb filling and finished off with a thick cream cheese batter. Definitely a winner for the whole family…and friends…and neighbors 🙂 Just kidding, you’ll never wanna share them.
Well, I have found that most grocery stores and my one and only, farmer’s market in the area have for sale this time of the year, fresh green colored rhubarb. What happened to those beautiful, bright red stalks, I was looking for? I decided to wait and make the recipe when I’ll be able to find red rhubarb. Have no idea if the taste is different, but I was quite stubborn to find red rhubarb 🙂
Once, the red rhubarb problem was solved, I was more than ready to make this easy Strawberry and Rhubarb Bars recipe. Yes! It may not look like an easy project but, believe me, you’ll be surprised how little effort is required to put it together. To make my life easier, I used a rectangular (14 Inch by 5 Inch) loose bottom tart pan, lined with parchment paper. Using this pan, I got around 20 bars. I also cut the fresh rhubarb and strawberries in small pieces to get a nice, smoother filling.
One more tip! Remove the pan from the fridge at least 30 minutes prior to serving and cut the bars while still cold with a clean knife. This way, you’ll be able to enjoy that silky, lush cheesecake topping. You can easily refrigerate the leftovers for a couple of days, uncovered but I don’t think you’ll have any!
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- ¼ cup powdered sugar
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ stick butter, melted
- ⅓ cup toasted slivered almonds, coarsely chopped
- STRAWBERRY-RHUBARB FILLING
- ¾ cup granulated sugar
- ¼ cup cornstarch
- 3 rhubarb sticks, cut into ½-inch-thick slices
- aprox 15 fresh strawberries, cut into ½-inch-thick pieces
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- CREAM CHEESE BATTER
- 1 package cream cheese (8 oz), at room temperature
- ¼ cup sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- ½ tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- Garnish: powdered sugar
- Crust Preparation: Preheat oven to 350F/ 180C. In a large bowl combine the flour, sugar, baking soda and coarsely chopped almonds. Add melted butter and stir to get a crumbly mixture. Press the mixture onto the bottom of a prepared pan and place it in the oven. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove from the oven and allow to cool until ready to use. Don't turn off your oven.
- Filling: Stir together granulated sugar, cornstarch and chopped rhubarb and strawberry pieces in a medium saucepan. Let stand 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Bring mixture to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly. Reduce heat to low, and simmer for 3-5 minutes, stirring constantly until filling starts to thicken. Remove from heat, and stir in vanilla.
- Cream Cheese Batter: Beat cream cheese and granulated sugar with an electric mixer until smooth. Add the egg and beat just until blended. Add lemon zest and juice, beating well.
- To assemble, spread a thick layer of Strawberry-Rhubarb filling over cooled crust and gentry spread Cream Cheese batter over filling.
- Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until set. Cool on a wire rack for almost 1 hour. Refrigerate, uncovered, for about 4 hours or overnight. Remove from the fridge at least 30 minutes, before serving it and cut into bars while still cold.
- Serve with powdered sugar.