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.

101 thoughts on “Rhubarb Bars

  1. Oh, this recipe looks delicious. And, I have to say, I don’t think I could have too many rhubarb recipes, so thank you for sharing. I have actually been trying to come up with a fruit dessert for an upcoming wine tasting weekend that would be easily transportable for a picnic and I think I may have found exactly what I was looking for. Thank you!!

  2. I think I have found a kindred spirit…someone who appreciates rhubarb as much as I do! Ironically, I actually posted a recipe the other day for my rhubarb cake – i think you would love it. I absolutely can not wait to try these rhubarb bars. Very elegant, and the shortbread is a perfect vehicle for the beautiful rhubarb curd!

  3. This is, quite simply, the most beautiful post I’ve seen yet this spring. Those bars are drool-worthy! Absolutely gorgeous. Thanks for sharing.

  4. thanks for the recipe. I love rhubarb but have never tasted rhubarb curd! This will definitely be on my baking list as soon as I find some rhubarbs around my neck of the wood!

  5. I had the same idea and made Rhubarb bars last summer using my favorite lemon bar recipe. Although my puree was beautifully pink, my bars did not hold their beautiful color like yours did. I might have to try your recipe this summer.

  6. I made Rhubarb Bars last summer with the same idea of using my favorite Lemon Bar recipe and Rhubarb puree. Mine did not retain their beautiful pink color when baked. Yours are beautiful, I will have to try your recipe this summer.

    1. Wow, they really did loose their pink! My recipe definitely has more rhubarb in it I think, and perhaps cooking it stove top first to make the curd helps preserve the color as well. The color on mine actually intensified once they were in the oven.

    2. Nicole – Wow, they really did loose their pink! My recipe definitely has more rhubarb in it I think, and perhaps cooking it stove top first to make the curd helps preserve the color as well. The color on mine actually intensified once they were in the oven.

  7. hi lara,

    i love lemon bars and i love rhubarb, and am kicking myself for having never thought about putting them together! these look absolutely fantastic. sadly, i can’t find rhubarb where i am right now, but i know i will in the summer up in the mountains, and these will be on top of my list of rhubarb recipes to try. thanks so much for sharing and inspirations!

  8. Wow. I love your blog. The photos are amazing and those bars look delicious! I love rhubarb and I’m always trying to find new ways to use it.

  9. Your photography is wonderful, though I daresay these bars don’t need good advertising to make them better. Thank you for a wonderful reminder of springtime. (And I don’t even like the color pink.)

  10. I sent your recipe to my wife this morning. Since she can’t stop asking me to make it as soon as we get rhubarb here!!!

    Even if I don’t like rhubarb, it looks beautiful πŸ™‚

    1. Hi Kyle – the bars are amazingly simple. The only trick to the rhubarb curd is to heat the eggs slowly enough so that they don’t scramble. If they do, you can strain out the bits, and it will taste fine, but won’t look quite so pretty. Other than that, the only hard part to these was wrapping them in the parchment and tape! I did demolish a few in the attempt.

  11. These are so beautiful, Lara. Rhubarb curd might be the best idea I’ve ever heard in my lifeÒ€”a perfect spring hostess gift. And thanks for the link to Not Without Salt. I’d somehow forgotten about that site, but I love it. So much lovely pink inspiration everywhere!

  12. I just had to include this post in my weekly cups of tea. I can’t wait to try them as I mentioned above. Stop on by – the post is up today – April 25th. Again, thank you for this recipe.

  13. I love lemon bars and I love rhubarb, so you really made my day posting this recipe. It sounds very delicious and I can’t wait to try them.

  14. I am ashamed to say that I bought rhubarb for the first time the other day. I absolutely love it and my favourite pie of all time is strawberry-rhubarb. I have never baked with it and am looking forward to it becoming one of the items I shop for regularly. Your post is great for people like me that are starting their rhubarb recipe collection, not only have you given me a new recipe (one I am looking forward to making-they look heavenly) but you have also pointed me in the direction to where I can find more recipes to add to my collection. Thank you for sharing!

  15. I just discovered you blog and it is so beautiful!! I am very intrigued by these shortbread bars. We don’t get rhubarb in my farmshare in California, but it looks like you used a lemon bar recipe originally, so I am hoping that I can adapt this and use meyer lemons and strawberries.

    I’m excited to see more of your beautiful spring foods!

  16. I love rhubarb and these look amazing! I do hope to try them soon! Thanks for sharing the great recipe and your lovely pictures…

    1. Hi Lee. Thanks! The puree is the first step in the rhubarb curd recipe… basically chop, stew and then use an blender to puree!

  17. Hi! Did you spread some of the puree on top? That’s what it looks like in the picture. Also- did you use any powdered sugar on top? Not sure if it would get absorbed too quickly, or if I should give it a whirl. Thanks!

    1. Hi Amanda, no it just darkened some on top as it cooked. But the color of the rhubarb can make very different colored bars… The rhubarb I used was very bright red.

  18. I made these and they were absolutely delicious! Sadly though, my rhubarb puree was not the beautiful brilliant pink that you show in your photo. It was MUCH paler. Then, when I made the curd, the egg yolks turned it MUSTARD YELLOW. It tasted fine, but I was too embarrassed to serve it to friends so I added red food coloring until it looked pink again. I guess I need better rhubarb πŸ™

    1. Hi Colleen- yes the color of the rhubarb will make a big difference. Look for the brightest reddest you can find for the color to be like the bars I made. I didn’t use any coloring but my rhubarb was very red. I made them again after this post with greener rhubarb and though the were still pink they were much paler and not quite as pretty. Glad they still tasted good!

  19. I’ve been trying to decide which dessert recipe to make with rhubarb this spring and I’ve finally found it. Wow, these look so lovely. I can’t wait to try the rhubarb curd!

  20. That looks wonderful! I have managed to get rhubarb growing in my Roman garden (a challenge) so will have to try this (a gluten/dairy free version as one of my colleagues at work is allergic). Thanks a bunch.
    (Oh and Hi! I came here via Tea & Cookies)

  21. Hi Lara,
    I’m trying to get started on these but have run into a snag. Ten to 15 stalks weigh a whole lot more than 400g which my calculator says is .8 something of a pound. Is there a misprint. Very confused with all this g/lb stuff.

    1. Hi Chris- rhubarb stalks vary a lot in size so you may have bigger ones than I did. Stick with the weights and you should be good.

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