I’m probably going to change this to the official rhubarb blog.
Seriously. It’d be perfect. I love rhubarb. I constantly dream of ways to use it. And because rhubarb is so brief and seasonal—spring and a very short fall season—I only have to commit to a few weeks of work. I can do that.
But that’s a little niche even for me, I guess. You can’t blame me for trying though.
I had a hard time finding rhubarb this year. It seemed like it showed up everywhere very late in the game. For this reason, and in an effort to not over harvest my own plants, I bought close to four pounds when some of those pink spears finely made their appearance. I wanted to take the box that it was on display in at the grocery store. The produce clerk said “no”. Such is life.
Since most of my rhubarb bakes as of late have been breakfast oriented—like my rhubarb-ginger scones and rhubarb-cheese danishes—I decided a sweeter dessert treat was in order (that said, I take no issue with eating virtually any dessert for breakfast). These rhubarb bars, or rhu-bars (C’MONNNNN!), are just like those crumbly fruit bars that you usually see with blueberries or strawberries. The base crust and crumbly top are the same pastry so it’s an incredibly simple recipe with little finickiness to it; cut with a little almond flour adds an extra crunch to the crumble and a sweet, nutty flavor that rhubarb loves. The rhubarb itself is sharp and tart but perfectly balanced with some sweetness. It’s that contrast that makes rhubarb so desirable.
It’s the perfect spring sweet to showcase rhubarb! You could add strawberries to it if you prefer, but… no.
Start by trimming the rhubarb at either end and the chop it. I do an even mix of finely diced—halving width-wise and then in half for thin stalks or in thirds for thicker ones—and rough, larger bits. Toss the rhubarb with the sugar and salt and set it aside to macerate for 30 minutes.
Preheat over to 375°. Spray a 9" x 13" pan with baking spray and lay a fitted piece of parchment on the bottom.
Next start the crust. Add the flour, almond flour, sugar, baking powder, and sugar in a food processor. Tip in the cold, diced butter and pulse about 10 times to break the butter up into bits around the size of peas.
Slightly beat the egg in a separate dish and quickly add it into the processor while the motor is running. Immediately shut it off. Mix it a little more by hand to make sure the egg is evening incorporated throughout. The dough will be incredibly crumbly. Press half of the dough firmly into the bottom of the prepared pan.
Drain the liquid from the rhubarb—if you don't the bars will be soggy (don't toss it! Add it to soda water, reduce to a syrup... you get the idea). Toss the rhubarb with the cornstarch. Scatter this across the crust.
Sprinkle the remaining half for the crumbly mix over the top, squeezing and clumping some together as you do so, similar to how you would make a crumble. Bake for 45 - 55 minutes, until the crumbly topping is golden brown and the rhubarb soft beneath.
Let the bars cool to room temperature. I think they're easier to cut after a quick trip in the fridge to chill them. These are best within a day or two of baking but I'm on day 4 and have no complaints.