I love rhubarb! I finally decided that this year, I was going to plant some. I don’t have room in our garden, which is in our side yard, so I was going to plant it in the back yard. Well, guess what? Rhubarb leaves are toxic! Did you all know that? We have four dogs, and I kind of like having them around. So no rhubarb plants. Boo. Luckily it’s abundant at this time of year! (This is my PSA of the day. Rhubarb leaves = sick, or worse, dogs.)
Last summer, I made Strawberry Rhubarb Ice Cream. In that one, I made a sauce that was pureed and added right into the ice cream. Oooh, that was delicious! For these bars, you just add the sliced rhubarb right to the filling. No cooking ahead of time, so it’s really simple. Instead of the usual pairing of strawberries, I chose to use raspberries. A nice partner to the rhubarb, indeed! The bars have a nice flaky-type crust that couldn’t be easier, and then, a topping you don’t usually see on bars--meringue! It gives the bars a beautiful finish! Really, is there even enough meringue in the world? I don’t think so. Also, it gives the impression that you worked very hard on these, but in fact, they’re super simple to make.
I found a bar recipe that I wanted to mess around with, but when it came time to make them, I had no idea where the recipe was. Don’t you hate that? Still have no clue where it was. I went on a search through my cookbooks and found this great recipe in my “LL Bean Book of New England Cookery,” by Judith and Evan Jones. If you can find a copy, it’s a great resource for authentic New England cooking. Oh looky! It’s available in paperback!
I made a few changes, like using the raspberries instead of strawberries, and adding a few more things that weren’t in the original recipe. I had some almond paste kicking around in the fridge, so that went into the crust, along with some vanilla and almond extracts to the filling. Oh, and yes, I had to stick some lime in there, because raspberry and lime are a force to be reckoned with.
While I’m on the subject of messing around and changing recipes, I’d like to address something I’ve been coming across more frequently lately. And no, I’m not naming names.
The issue is copying and pasting recipes from one blog to another. I’m not talking about blatant recipe stealing, just when one blogger reblogs a recipe from another blog. I have no problem with that, personally. It’s the copying of the text, word for word, that bothers me. The law states that ingredient lists can’t be copyrighted, but the recipe introduction, directions and procedures, in other words, the “literary expression” can be copyrighted. (See paragraph 4)
So please, if you’re doing a recipe from another blog on your own blog, it’s awesome and just plain good manners to link back to their original recipe, but it’s also great if you can rewrite the recipe in your own words. It’s also acceptable to just say something like “find the recipe here,” with the link back to them. If you’ve made changes to the recipe, or rewritten it in your own words, I’ve got no problem with you posting it like that on your blog, with the link back. This is my opinion, and other bloggers may feel differently.
Think of it like this: if you were in school, and copying a friend’s homework, you wouldn’t copy it word for word, would you? No, you’d write it in your own words. You also (hopefully) wouldn’t copy homework answers right out of a book. Same idea, different words. Right?
Also--if you’d like to use a photo, please ask first. The blogger may say yes (I usually do, provided you give credit and link back.) and you’ll save a lot of trouble. I guess that’s my second PSA of the day.
Raspberry Rhubarb Meringue Bars
Adapted from The LL Bean Book of New England Cookery
Makes one 9x13 inch pan
1 3/4 cups flour
2 tbsp powdered sugar
6 tbsp cold butter
3 tbsp almond paste
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/4 cup flour
1/4 tsp salt
6 egg yolks (save the whites for the meringue!)
1 cup heavy cream
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp almond extract
3/4 cup sliced rhubarb
1 1/4 cup raspberries, fresh or frozen
1 tsp lime juice
6 egg whites
1/2 cup sugar
Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 9x13 pan.
Make the crust:
In a food processor, pulse the flour and sugar till mixed. Add the butter and almond paste, and pulse until you get a nice crumbly texture. Press the mixture into the pan and bake for 10-12 minutes. Set aside to cool while you make the filling.
Mix the sugar, flour and salt in a good sized bowl. In a smaller bowl, lightly beat the egg yolks and the cream. Add the vanilla and almond extracts, and stir in. Stir the egg mixture into the dry mixture, then fold in the rhubarb, raspberries, and lime juice. Spread the filling over the crust and bake for about an hour, until it's firm.
Towards the end of the baking time for the filling and crust, beat the egg whites until foamy. (Be sure you have no yolk in the egg whites!) Add the sugar, about a tablespoon at a time, until the meringue has stiff peaks.
When the bars are out of the oven, spread the meringue over the bars and put them back in the oven for 10-15 minutes, until lightly browned. I put the broiler on for the last couple of minutes. My bars got a little darker than I'd like because I got distracted while I should have been watching. That didn't stop us from enjoying these bars-they're fantastic! If you do decide to use the broiler, keep a good watch on them!
- These raspberry rhubarb bars are loaded with flavor!
- The almond paste in the crust really stands out and and adds so much flavor. The crust isn’t dry, but it is nice and flaky.
- The filling is bordering on custardy, and bursting with fruit.
- The meringue adds such a nice touch, and makes it look like you worked really hard on these bars, but we know the secret. Easy!
- Feel free to use other berries in this, like strawberries or blackberries. The original recipe calls for one cup of rhubarb and one cup of strawberries. Use what you like!