The appearance of rhubarb at the market is the first sign of spring for me! I look forward to seeing bright red stalks of this celery look-alike every year—it’s one of my favorite ingredients.
Perhaps I love the fleeting nature of the produce, available for a few short months (or less, depending on the season or where you live). Or maybe it’s the vibrant red color of the stalks, which I just adore.
Either way, I can’t wait to get my hands on it, and when it finally shows up, I buy it by the bagful.
STRAWBERRY-RHUBARB: A CLASSIC COMBO
Strawberry and rhubarb are such a classic combination. The bright red color gets amplified when cooked together, and the deep, tart flavor of the rhubarb plays so well with the candy-like sweetness of ripe strawberries.
Even though everyone immediately thinks pies when rhubarb is available, these crumble bars are an easy to make, hand-held variation. The dough used for the crust also doubles as the crumble topping.
Dicing the rhubarb and strawberry means that the fruit easily turns into a jammy center filling. Larger fruit chunks will take longer to cook, which can result in over-baking the crust.
MAKE THE FILLING MORE (OR LESS) SWEET TO TASTE
The filling is made with minimal sugar, which leaves the rhubarb more on the tart side and allows the naturally sweet strawberry flavor to come shining through. But if you like your strawberry rhubarb desserts to be sweeter, feel free to up the sugar by a tablespoon or so.
USE A PARCHMENT “SLING” FOR EASY BAKING
A simple spray of cooking oil allows the parchment paper to “stick” to the bottom of the pan as you prep the bars. Once baked, the parchment paper turns into a “sling” allowing you to remove the entire pan of bars and easily cutting them. No need to dig into the bars and ruin them (or your pan)!
MORE GREAT RHUBARB RECIPES
- Rhubarb Meringue Pie
- Strawberry-Rhubarb Pie
- Rhubarb Sorbet
- Strawberry Rhubarb Cobbler
- Rosemary Lemon Rhubarb Spritzer
Strawberry Rhubarb Crumble Bars Recipe
These Strawberry Rhubarb Crumble Bars are a snap to make. The crust doubles as the crumble topping. Just make sure to dice the strawberry and rhubarb in to small 1/4-inch chunks, so that they turn into a jammy fruit center filling. Larger pieces of fruit will lead to a chunkier filling.
For the crust and crumble dough
- 3 cups (420 g) all-purpose flour
- 1 cup (200 g) white granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 cup (225 g or 2 sticks) unsalted butter, cold
- 1 large egg
For the fruit filling
- 2 cups (250 g) diced 1/4-inch chunks) rhubarb (2 to 3 thick stalks or 5 to 6 thin stalks or a little over 1/2 pounds)
- 2 cups (310 g) diced (1/4-inch chunks) strawberries (3/4 pounds)
- 3 tablespoons white granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 Preheat the oven to 375°F. Spray a 9×13-inch pan with cooking oil. Line the pan with parchment paper with the one inch of extra parchment paper hanging over the sides.
2 Make the dough: Combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt in a medium-sized bowl. Cut the butter into 1/2-inch chunks and sprinkle over the dry ingredients. Using your fingers, squish the butter, breaking it down into small bits and mixing the dry ingredients together. The butter should be the size of small peas, but flat, not in chunks.
Add the egg and toss together with a fork at first, then massage into the dough with your hand. The dough will be crumbly.
3 Divide the dough and shape the crust: Scoop 1 cup (about 170 g) of the crumbly dough and set it aside.
Dump the remaining dough into the bottom of the lined pan and press down on it firmly with your hands or with the flat bottom of a cup, to form an even layer of dough at the bottom.
4 Make the filling and add to the pan: Combine all the ingredients in a bowl (you can use the same bowl you made the dough if you’d like, no need to clean it). Spread it out evenly over the bottom crust.
5 Top with crumbles and bake: Sprinkle the reserved crumbly dough over the fruit filling. Bake in the oven 40 to 45 minutes, or until the top of the fruit is bubbling and the crumb topping is golden brown. Cool completely in the pan until it reaches room temperature.
6 Cool and cut the bars: Use the side of the parchment paper to lift up and move the entire block carefully to a cutting board. Cut into bars. Serve at room temperature. Store in the refrigerator in an airtight container for 2 to 3 days.
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