Rhubarb Lemon Bars


I know, you're looking at the picture and you're saying "Isn't rhubarb red?" Of course, rhubarb is red, but, when you cook it, the color really doesn't hold and it ends up pale pink, at best, or a bit muddy-looking, at worst. When you see rhubarb desserts that are a nice bright red, it usually means one of two things: first, that the rhubarb is paired with strawberries, which generally retain their beautiful red color even when cooked, or there is red food coloring added to the recipe to give the rhubarb that pretty rosy hue.

A fresh rhubarb purée, without any additional coloring, still has a nice tart flavor, if not the bright red color, and I've added it here to some leftover lemon curd to make an easy treat. The shortbread crust gives it a buttery crunch — eat them by themselves or top them with a spoonful of whipped cream for a zesty springtime dessert!

Makes about 8-10 squares.

For the shortbread crust:

1 stick unsalted butter, softened

1/4 cup sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 tablespoon lemon zest

1 cup all-purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon salt

For the rhubarb lemon filling:

2 cups chopped fresh rhubarb

1/4 cup sugar

1/4 cup water

1/2 cup lemon curd (try my Extra-Puckery Lemon Curd!)

1 egg

1/2 cup all purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup confectioner's sugar, for dusting

Preheat oven to 350°F.

To make the crust, beat the butter and sugar together in an electric mixer for five minutes, or until light and fluffy. Add the vanilla and lemon zest and blend completely. Add the flour and salt and mix until it just starts to come together — don't overmix. Pat the dough evenly into the bottom of an 8"x8" baking dish so that it's about a 1/2" thick and place into the refrigerator to chill for about 15 minutes.

Bake for 12 - 15 minutes until just golden and cooked, then remove from the oven and allow to cool completely in the pan on a rack.

To make the filling, place the rhubarb, sugar, and water in a small saucepan and simmer over medium-low heat until the rhubarb is completely softened; pour into a blender and purée. Whisk the lemon curd and egg together, then blend in the rhubarb purée. Mix the flour and baking powder together and then add to the wet ingredients, mixing until completely incorporated. Spread the filling over the entire top of the cooled shortbread crust and bake at 350°F for 35 - 40 minutes, or until completely set. Let cool on a wire rack, then cut into squares and dust with confectioner's sugar just before serving.

Love a Fruity Dessert? Try These Blackberry Lemon Hand Pies!

#recipes #rhubarb #spring #dessert #lemon #lemoncurd #RhubarbLemonBars #CarlaHall #baking

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