Sunday, July 6, 2008

Rhubarb Custard Bars - When you don't feel like making pie

After all that talk about pie, here's another family classic that's perfect for when you have a ton of rhubarb and you don't want to make pastry crust or wait for it to chill. This dessert has a buttery shortbread crust and a creamy, custardy filling with the tang of rhubarb.

1 1/4 c. all-purpose flour
1/2 c. sugar
1/4 tsp. salt (omit if using salted butter)
1 stick butter, soft but not melted

4-5 c. rhubarb, chopped into 1/2" pieces
1 c. sugar
4 eggs, beaten
2 Tbsp. flour
1 tsp. vanilla
1/4 tsp. salt

Preheat the oven to 350. Grease a 9 x 13" baking dish.

Crust: Stir the flour, sugar and salt together in a medium bowl and then cut in the butter with a fork or pastry blender until the butter is well-distributed in fine crumbs. Press the crust into a greased 9 x 13" baking dish so that the crust goes halfway up the sides. Prick with a fork and bake for 10-12 minutes or until lightly browned. While the crust is baking, prepare the filling.

Filling: In a large mixing bowl, blend the sugar and flour with a fork. Add the eggs, vanilla, and rhubarb and mix until well combined. Pour the rhubarb mixture over the baked shortbread crust and return to the oven to bake for 30-35 minutes. The edges should be firm and the center slightly soft (it will continue to tighten up).

Serve warm or cooled. Store the leftovers in the refrigerator, if there are any.

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