Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Rhubarb Pie Bars

I was inspired by the Rhubarb Hand Pies on the Smitten Kitchen blog,
but the more I thought about making them,
the more tired I got.
I decided to make a bar pan recipe, using rhubarb and cream cheese.
They turned out almost perfectly.
They're like a lemon-rhubarb cheesecake with a shortbread crust.
They didn't have that mouth-puckering dry quality that some rhubarb desserts have.
They were delicious, tart, and not too sweet.
The only problem was the powdered sugar that we sifted on top of the bars
got absorbed quickly, leaving powdered-sugar splotches here and there.
It's probably best to sift the powdered sugar on top right before serving.

 Fourth of July banner by Anna Kate.

I measure the flour scant, so the crust can be spread with a spatula.
If the dough is more crumbly, you can just dump it into the pan and press it into place with lightly floured hands.

This is how they look when done,
a little brown around the edges.

Dusted with powdered sugar.

And gone by the end of the day!
I ate most of them.

Rhubarb Pie Bars

Preheat oven to 350.

1 cup butter
1/2 cup powdered sugar
2 cups flour (scant, or about 2 T. taken out)

Combine chilled butter (cut into small pieces), powdered sugar, and flour in a large bowl. Mix with pastry blender till mixture resembles fine little pebbles. Add a pinch of salt, stir to combine.

(OR mix softened butter and powdered sugar in a large mixing bowl, mix on high till soft and fluffy, add flour and salt and stir till just combined. This will make a more spreadable dough).

Spread dough into bar pan (I like the Pampered Chef stoneware pan, which is an odd size: 10 1/2 x 16 inches)

Bake at 350 for 15 minutes.

While crust bakes, prepare filling.


8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/3 cup sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
3 eggs, room temperature
1 tsp. baking powder
2 cups finely chopped rhubarb
zest and juice from half a lemon (chop the zest finely first)

Beat cream cheese and sugar for about two minutes, scraping sides of bowl occasiionally.
Add vanilla, beat a little longer.
Add eggs, one at a time, beating for about a minute between each egg.
Add baking powder, mix in thoroughly.
Stir in rhubarb and the zest and juice of the lemon.

Pour the filling over the baked crust.

Reduce oven temp. to 325.
Bake till set and brown around the edges, about 20 to 25 minutes.

Cool, cut into bars, dust with powdered sugar, serve and enjoy!

"And when it came to the pie--Mr. Perry, a neighbor of Laura's parents, tasted it first. Then he lifted the top crust, and reaching for the sugar bowl, spread sugar thickly over his piece of pie. 'That is the way I like it,' he said. 'If there is no sugar in the pie, then every fellow can sweeten his own as much as he likes without hurting the cook's feelings.'
....."Mr. Perry had made the meal a jolly one....Everyone laughed and talked and was very friendly, but Laura felt mortified about her pie without any sugar in it. She had been so hurried when she made the pies, but how could she have been so careless? Pieplant*  was so sour, that first taste must have been simply terrible."
(From The First Four Years by Laura Ingalls Wilder)


 Thanks to my daughter for watching the baby so I could post this!
Yesterday I was hollering for her from the basement, "Anna! Anna!"
--usually I call her Anna Kate--
and Malachi looked at me with the biggest smile, opened his mouth, and hollered,
Then he struggled to say it again, coming up with "Ahn" and :"Ah Ah."
It reminded me of how Isaac and Caleb used to cry for my sister Anna.
She was often here during the summer, and one year when she had just left for Peru,
Isaac cried "Na! Na!"
over and over from his crib.
Guess she was the rescuer of crib-bound babies.

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