Rhubarb Bars

You most likely don’t need another rhubarb recipe at this time of year. There are the most beautiful recipes all over my favorite blogs. Helen’s exquisite Poached Rhubarb with Lavender Panna Cotta. Aran’s lovely Stewed Rhubarb with Lemon and Buttermilk Sherbet. Jess’s tempting Rhubarbsauce. Ashley’s yummy Rhubarb Ice Cream. Molly’s delightful Roasted Rhubarb. The list goes on and on.

But, I’m giving you one anyway because I am quite smitten with it. I’m giving you Rhubarb Bars. Or, as I keep thinking of them, RhuBars. Sadly, it is true. I am not beyond making a recipe because of a really bad pun.

I think you’ll be glad that I did though, because these really are something else. They are really entirely different than the bars you’d find if you do a google search for rhubarb bars. Those bars are more akin to a crumble or a granola bar. When I started dreaming of rhubarb bars, I was thinking of something more along the lines of lemon bars. Velvety curd and tender shortbread.

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If you make nothing else, you really must make the rhubarb curd. Silky smooth and sweet-tart. I might even dare to call it luscious. It may pale some in color from the simple stewed rhubarb puree, but still holds a charming pale pink and it took just about everything in my power to keep from eating it all straight from the bowl. It’s like lemon curd all dressed up for spring. Have you ever seen rhubarb look lovelier?

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But don’t forget the shortbread. Oh, it’s nothing fancy. It doesn’t need to be. The rhubarb makes everything fancy. The shortbread is buttery and flakey, and the combination of the silky curd and crumbly crust simply melts in your mouth.

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Yum.

Thank goodness I have neighbors, or I would have sat and eaten the whole dozen myself.

PS: Keep your eye out for the May/June issue of Edible Seattle for my article with even more rhubarb recipes, including a simple and addictive rhubarb bruschetta that our editor Jill described as bruschetta in a party dress.

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Rhubarb Curd

Adapted from this lovely recipe on Ginger Tablet

400 grams rhubarb (about 10 to 15 stalks)
1/3 cup sugar

6 egg yolks
3/4 cup sugar  
a pinch of salt
1 teaspoon lemon zest (optional)
50 grams unsalted butter, cut up into chunks

Wash and chop rhubarb into 1/2 inch chunks. There is no need to peel, but if your stalks are particularly large, you might trim off any tough parts. Stir the rhubarb and 1/4 cup of sugar together and let sit for about 10 minutes. Place in a medium sized pot with about 1/4 cup of water and cook over low heat until you can no longer see whole pieces. Turn off the heat and let cool to room temperature. Blend to a smooth puree if you desire (this will remove any remaining little stringy bits, but it isn’t necessary).

If you are making the bars, pause at this point to make and bake the crust.

In a double boiler (or a bowl over boiling water), whisk the egg yolks, remaining sugar and salt. Whisk until well combined and warm. Add about 1 cup of the stewed rhubarb and the lemon zest. Keep stirring until the mixture is warm again. Check for taste and add more of the pureed rhubarb until you get the desired flavor and color. Remove from heat and stir in the butter chunks.

If you are not using the curd immediately, let it cool to room temperature and then store refrigerated for up to a week.

This recipe makes more curd than you’ll need for the Rhubarb Bars.

Rhubarb Bars
Adapted from Joe Pastry’s Lemon Bars

Makes about a dozen

4 ounces butter, room temperature
1 cup (136 grams) all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
a pinch of salt
about 1/2 of the Rhubarb curd recipe from above
Powdered sugar for dusting (optional)

Preheat the oven to 350.

Place the butter, flour, sugar and salt in the bowl of a mixer. Start on low speed (to keep the flour from flying everywhere), stir until it resembles course crumbs. Then increase speed slightly and continue to mix until a soft dough forms. It’s kind of magic.

Take the dough and press it into a 9″ x 5″ baking dish. Let rest at room temperature for about 15 minutes, and then bake until it is lightly golden, about 20 minutes. While the dough is baking, finish preparing the curd.

Pour the enough curd onto the crust to make a layer a little less than 1/4 inch thick, and bake for another 10 minutes, until the curd has set. Cool to room temperature. Refrigerate if desired (it’s easier to slice when chilled, but not necessary). Dust with powdered sugar before slicing if you’d like.

  • http://teapotsandpolkadots.blogspot.com Alana

    Made these tonight and I cannot stop eating the rhubarb curd. Oh my goodness it’s so good. I did find that my rhubarb puree was a dusty pink, so my curd with good bright yellow farmers market egg yolks turned little orangey. A drop or two of red gel food coloring returned it to a beautiful pale pink color.

    The only trouble I had was getting them out of the pan–would you recommend buttering the bottom? lining with parchment paper? I ruined about half of them getting them out. :( Good thing the broken ones don’t count against your calories! :)

    • http://laraferroni.com L

      Hi Alana – buttering the pan may be a good idea. I didn’t have a problem with my first batch, but my second did stick a little. I just wouldn’t over butter or the shortbread might get greasy.

  • http://www.dinnerwithjulie.com Julie

    WOW, I’m so glad to have found you! this all looks gorgeous. And I’ve managed to not kill all my rhubarb yet..

  • http://afoodieliveshere.wordpress.com Sarah Graham

    Hi Lara! I just wanted to say that your blog is incredible, I have only just recently discovered it and now feel like I have been living under a rock!
    Forgive me if it’s obvious, but I can’t find anywhere to subscribe to email updates or RSS feeds?! Please let me know how to get on the mailing list, thanks so much!
    Sarah Graham, Cape Town, South Africa

  • william

    hey lara

    thanks for the recipe. it looks amazing. and great site in general, but i was wondering if you could add a share button to your blog. thanks!

  • http://chasingjamesbeard.com/ joyce

    These are beautiful, love the color!

  • Helen Edwards

    In the UK our rhubarb is more green than pink so my puree came out quite yellow, but it still tastes absolutely incredible :-)

  • Mrs. Baker

    These look fantastic! I make a delicious passionfruit shortbread bar, and have been told it tastes just like rhubarb. I am excited to try these soon!

  • william

    made these last year. will be making them again. i’ve been dreaming about them for a long time.

  • http://www.aworldflavor.com Otehlia Cassidy

    I found your website via Rebecca at CakeWalk. The curd is sooo delicious and beautiful!
    Question:
    If I made the curd ahead, and already chilled it, can I still make the bars, and bake the curd on it? I am drooling over all the recipes here. Thank you!

  • Kerry

    Hi Lara,
    I’m getting ready to make these bars today and I see that the recipe calls for 3/4 cup of sugar. I only see 1/4 cup used, do you add the 1/2 cup when stewing the rhubarb, adding as much as needed to taste?
    Thanks,
    Kerry

    • http://laraferroni.com L

      Sorry it is confusing… You’ll use 1/4 to 1/3 in the initial rhubarb stewing and the another 3/4 cup in the curd or to taste… In any fruit mix always rely on your own sensibilities.

      L

  • Kerry

    Forget my last post, I just got to the part that calls for the rest of the sugar.
    Can’t wait to taste these.
    Kerry

    • http://laraferroni.com L

      Glad you figured it out! (and I have comments on moderation so that I don’t get spammed…out of town right now so it took a bit to get to tha approval).

      Btw- it isn’t completely clear I realized, but the amount if sugar you’ll add will vary based in your rhubarb and how tart it is.

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  • Brandyc Garth

    Loving this recipe so much! I made it at my grandma’s house. The combination of recipes goes well with each other and the taste is certainly admirable. http://www.gourmandia.ca and http://www.coffeefashion .com also have interesting recipes that you’ll surely want to try!

  • Nataliegwllm

    These look absolutely wonderful and I can’t wait to try them out. Do you think this recipe would work with rhubarb I froze from the garden from last year. I am trying to use it up before the new stuff comes in. And also, since it is already cut into 1/2 in chunks, roughly how many cups of rhubarb would it be? Thanks so much.

    • Anonymous

      Hi Natalie,

      It should work just fine, although I haven’t tried it. Just guessing on the cup size for the rhubarb (a scale is much easier!), but I think you get about 15 to 20 1/2 inch chunks out of one stick of rhubarb, so you’d want between about 200 and 300 pieces depending on how thick your rhubarb was.

      Lara

  • Iamchickenfoot

    oh wowsey wow wow. both these recipes look delish

  • http://twitter.com/MeatballsM Meatballs&Milkshakes

    Wow! Incredibly beautiful pictures!

  • Guerin_10

    Tried this tonight…was very disapointed… : ( Definitely not as good as it sounds! Won’t be a keeper…

    • Anonymous

      Sorry they didn’t work out for you… if you let me know what the problem was, I might be able to help you troubleshoot. Mine were definitely a winner!

  • Nancy McKay

    Greetings & thank you for this new recipe! I love rhubarb & am tired of making crumbles, so I am looking forward to baking these today! I’m going to substitute Agave for sugar…and I’ll keep you posted!

  • http://www.countrycleaver.com/ Megan {Country Cleaver}

    Curds make everything better – and making rhubarb curd and bars? Be still my heart!!

  • http://www.cookingrecipesyard.com/ indian recipes

    I was in search of the same recipe……….I am glad that i visited this website and come to know about it.

  • http://farmgirlfare.com/ Farmgirlfare

    Oh yum! I think you’ve convinced me to finally plant some rhubarb in my kitchen garden. The bars sound wonderful, and your photos are gorgeous.

  • April

    Hi I found this recipe on Pinterest, looks amazing and I want to try it. I am a little confused with the curd recipe though. Under your ingredient list you have the rhubarb and 1/3 cup of sugar listed but in the directions you say 1/4 a cup. So when stewing the rhubarb do you use 1/3 or 1/4 a cup of sugar? And then for the second part, you use 3/4 cup in with the egg yolks and salt? Thanks for sharing!

  • Jo DeBell

    I just made these and they are FANTASTIC but they did not hold their pink color when heated :( I think if I make them again I might add a few drops of food coloring just to make them prettier. But the curd is out of this world delicious! I baked them for almost 15 mins to get them to set since I doubled the recipe and made it in a 13×9

  • MW

    I made this today (for mothers day) with rhubarb from garden (and my chicken eggs as well). The flavors were delicious, but the color really was ugly mustard yellow. After reading the comments, I intentionally cut extra rhubarb stalks, and only used the top 2/3 really red parts, to no avail. It also didn’t quite gel as I had hoped even with some extra bake time. Didn’t become “bars”- had to be eaten with a fork.

    With that said, the taste was quite good so it was quickly devoured. I followed the recipe pretty closely, except I used all of the rhubarb puree to make the curd, with only 1/2 the puree added to the curd mixture it tasted too “eggy”. Would I make again? maybe. was a lot of work for something rather unattractive, though the taste might win it another try just for home consumption.

  • Sarah Rose

    Just made the curd and it is amazing! I can just imagine how good it would be with the shortbread underneath. I’ll definitely be making more of this over the summer, and the rest of my life. The only thing I did differently was use brown sugar instead of white because that was all I had on hand. It worked great! Thanks for the great recipe!

  • Dane E.

    I made these last night, and while they were very delicious, the curd didn’t set very well. I definitely will try it out again in a couple weeks, but I might add a bit of gelatin so it isn’t so runny and maybe cooking the curd itself longer. What do you think?

  • JackieO

    I have been waiting for months for my rhubarb to be ready, just to make this recipe. I have a small rhubarb plant and was concerned that I wouldn’t have enough purée to make the curd, so I also purée some strawberries and made strawberry-rhubarb curd. It is to DIE for! It also kept its pretty color quite nicely. Thanks for such a great recipe!

  • Rachel Pomeranz

    I haven’t finished making these yet (just the curd, so far), but to everyone who is saying that their rhubarb didn’t have a pretty pink color: The secret is to add beet juice!!! I also had some really sad, yellow rhubarb. I added juice from 4 beets and although the color is not quite as bright as the photos on this blog, it is MUCH prettier than if I had left it alone. What’s even better is that it didn’t harm the flavor at all and I’m sure it’s added lots of nutrients. My fiancé’s very fussy dad just had a taste of the curd and says that it is delicious. He has no idea that I tinkered with it and added the “nasty beets” which he specifically asked me not to do!

    • Kelly Kindle Cheney

      haha You rock!

  • Kristin LaQuay Healt

    Is there a recipe to make more than just a bread pan sized amount? I wanted to make this for my daughter’s class but there isn’t enough.

  • jasmine
  • jasmine
  • Allie

    I made these tonight, phenomenal! It was all I could do to stop eating the curd as I went along. I did have to add a few drops of pink food dye to get a palatable colour, however, I noticed after I strained the mash it began to become more red on it’s own.

    Love ’em, thanks!

  • Micupoftea

    Wow…thx for the recipe! Looks delicious :)

  • bella Mater

    The flavour of the curd is outstanding, but I’m a little concerned with the consistency… how long did you cook the curd for? Did I miss something? 6 yolks, 1 and 1/4 cup rhubarb juice… 3/4 cups sugar, pinch of salt. some vanilla bean… double boiler, then finished it off directly in the pot… came to a heady boil, but still seems awfully runny… Thoughts?

  • Alice

    Just made these, and I have to give you credit for the pictures. They are absolutely amasing. The bars… Not so much. I loved the crust, it’s sweet, crispy, tender and buttery, just how I like it. The filling itself, well, too much effort for too little result. The garden rhubarb gives an ugly yellow colour and red food dye doesn’t help. The taste is sweet and sour. My taste buds weren’t amaised. I find it’s a good way to use excess amounts of rhubarb)))) if you run out of recipes) by the way, I’d advise to make more filling, may be double the ingredients. It’s an ok recipe, not so pretty at the end, tastes fine, a little too much work. Oh, and I fixed runny filling with a bit of corn starch. if you’re tired of making grandma rhubarb pies, try this one. It’s definitely different)))