Strawberry Rhubarb Bars were long pending on my to do list. Amit was presented with this book called Pure Flavors by Kurt Beecher Dammeier as an appreciation by one of his colleagues. Isn’t that a nice gesture to show your appreciation for your leader. He wanted me to make these bars since he got this book since these bars were on tasting platter when they were selling this book in the store. Kurt Beecher Dammeier is the creator of award winning Beecher’s Hand made cheese in Seattle, USA. He believes that great food begins with the highest quality ingredients prered simply, so their natural intense flavors shine through. In Pure Flavor, he has penned down 125 recipes, that celebrate the quintessentially American flavors of the Pacific Northwest region that Kurt calls home.
I resonate with his theory of cooking simple with fresh ingredients, well most of the time unless I am in the crunch of time and the canned beans step in as a savior ;). He has a great collection from soups and sandwiches, salads, pasta and grains, vegetables and sides, sweets, breakfast, basic sauces and spreads etc. a great collection all in all. I actually cook like that when it comes to exquisite vegetables like Brussels sprouts, broccoli, asparagus, etc. by pan grilling them in butter and dashing with salt n pepper. Would love to try some of his more recommended recipes in ten book as well. My only glitch with the book is that it lacks pictures of the finished product. Sometimes it is dragging like a documentary. Sometimes, you got to have a visual image to follow a recipe. May be I am wrong. Let’s get back to Strawberry Rhubarb Bars now.
Rhubarb is a vegetable, which is used for its stalk. It is commonly used in salads, stews, drinks, desserts. It is tart in taste and when cooked with sugar lends a classic taste. This is how it looks. If you don’t get rhubarb easily, then substitute it with any other fruit like apples and blueberries.
I have tweaked the recipe a little.
All purpose flour : 1&1/2 cups + 4 tbsp. I am going to use whole wheat and oats flour combination next time.
Light Brown Sugar : 1/4 cup + 2 tbsp. The recipe required powdered sugar. Brown sugar worked fine for me.
Salt : 1/2 tsp
Unsalted butter, cold : 12 tbsp or 1&1/2 stick, cut into small cubes.
Granulated Sugar : 2/3 cup + 1/3 cup
Cloves, ground : 1/8 tsp
Orange Zest : 1 tsp
Vanilla extract : 1/2 tsp
Rhubarb : 3-4 stalks or 3&1/2 cups cut into 1/2″ pieces. The original required 6 cups or 1&1/2 pounds. I didn’t have enough, so added apples.
Apples : 2 cups chopped into 1/2″ cubes. Didn’t have enough rhubarb so subbed with apples and worked fine. Actually great ).
Strawberries : 1&1/2 cups hulled and sliced
My addition : 1/4 cups quick cooking oats and 1/4 cup sliced or chopped almonds.
Kitchen Equipments Needed :
8″ Baking dish, rectangular
Fork or pastry blade or food processor or use hands.
Step 1 :
Preheat the oven at 350*F.
In a large bowl, combine 1&1/3 cups of flour and the light brown sugar and salt. Cut the cubed cold butter and work worth either pastry blade, fork or hands to mix everything together. You may use food processor as well. I used my hands to rub them together. They should feel like coarse bread crumbs when mixed and clump together when squeezed lightly in your hand.
Scoop 2 cups of the mixture into the baking dish and press evenly into the pan with your fingers. Bake on the middle rack for 30-35 minutes or until golden brown on the edges and light golden in the middle.
Step 2 :
While the crust is baking, add 1/3 cup granulated sugar to the remaining flour-butter mixture and toss to combine. Set aside.
Step 3 :
In a large bowl, combine 3/4 cup granulate sugar and ground cloves. Stir in 4 tbsp flour, the orange zest and vanilla.
Add chopped rhubarb, chopped apples and sliced strawberries to the flour, clove and sugar mixture and mix well to coat the fruit.
Pour the fruit mixture onto the hot crust. Spread the filling evenly to the edges if the dish.
Sprinkle the flour-butter-sugar mixture from step 2 over the fruit.
Sprinkle the top with quick cooking oats and almonds and press it down gently.
Bake for 50-60 minutes or until bubbling around the edges and light brown on top.
Let the bars cool to room temperature before cutting and serving.
Note : I let them cool for couple of hours and then sliced and stored them in brown paper from lunch brown bags. Take a brown bag, cut into 4-6 equal parts and roll them up in paper for quick pick and avoid sticking.
The bars can be stored, covered at room temperature for upto 5 days.
The bars are delicious when served warm, like a fruit crumble .