Strawberries + rhubarb, the best and brightest of friends, and the springtime darling of farmers markets everywhere. Once I saw the ingredients at the Ithaca market, I couldn’t resist trying them in a slightly tweaked version of this wonderful recipe from Smitten Kitchen. Just look at those jewel tones!
I’d made the bars before with the original blueberries, and they were perfect. I loved this version equally, but I was a little rushed and would have preferred a browner top and a bit more fruit than I allowed. Otherwise, the tart and jammy filling sandwiched between two crumbly, buttery, streusel-y layers was just lovely.
and used the leftovers for a surprisingly great mussel pizza recipe from the NYT. Surprising simply because I didn’t know that mussel pizza was a thing. But it is a delicious, delicious thing.
Also from the market, I had some incredible local new potatoes that were a shocking color, plus a beautiful dapple grey duck egg. And discovered that mussels make excellent hearts.
It was a festival weekend in Ithaca, and I walked around in the beautiful weather and tried a slice of my friend Rachel’s apple peach ginger pie, from Iron Owl Kitchen. It cheered me up to have a giant slice of pie in my hand, because one of my favorite people was leaving town to return home to London, and I was feeling mopey about that. You could tell it was made with such love and focus, and I think being able to pick up on the chef’s intent is one of the best parts of food.
Now, onto the recipe!
Strawberry Rhubarb Bars
For the streusel base/topping:
- 3/4 cup white sugar
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- zest of one lemon or orange (I used orange for the rhubarb’s benefit)
- 1 cup cold unsalted butter, cut into chunks (2 sticks or 8 ounces)
- 1 egg
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
For the fruit mixture:
- Juice of one lemon or orange
- 2 -3 cups fresh strawberries, hulled and quartered
- 2-3 cups fresh rhubarb (a handful of stalks, sliced)
- 1/2 cup white sugar
- 4 teaspoons cornstarch
1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Grease a 9×13 inch pan.
2. In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, and baking powder for the streusel. Mix in salt and orange zest. Cut or work in the butter and egg until the dough is crumbly. Press half of the dough into the pan.
3. In another bowl, stir together the sugar, cornstarch and citrus juice. Toss with the strawberries and rhubarb, then spread over the base. Sprinkle/pat remaining dough over top.
4. Bake in preheated oven for 45-55 minutes, or until top is slightly brown – I would guess an hour max is ideal browning time.
5. Let cool completely, cut, and serve. Keeps very well chilled!
Till next time,
Pies & Pinups