Wednesday, May 14, 2008

The Elusive Rhubarb Bar

Some may be on a quest to find the world's perfect chicken salad, while others are ready to embark on a cross-country tour to find the country's perfect burger. Me, I'm trying to duplicate the French Meadow Bakery's rhubarb bar.

Now, I've never tried just asking them for the recipe. (I wonder if that would work?) I just remember it as the perfect blend of sweet and tart and messy sticky goodness all wrapped up in a bar. I used to get them at their stand at the Mpls farmer's market on Lyndale under I-35. Cars whizzing by over head, the smell of polish sausage being grilled with peppers and onions in the air, the sound of Peruvian music from the band in the corner. Can you tell I miss the farmer's market?

Anyway, so the rhubarb is ready. I harvested a few stalks this morning, and set about on my quest.

I used the Pioneer Woman's recipe for the crust and topping, doubling it because I don't have a pan that size (8 by 8). I also used less butter than called for.

For the rhubarb filling, I chopped up the rhubarb above, and came out with about 4 cups. Put that in a saucepan with about 1 1/2 cups of sugar, about a tablespoon (maybe more? I didn't actually measure) of cornstarch, and just a little glug of water to get it going. I boiled that until it was thick (10-15 minutes?), then let it cool. Here you can see the pan on the stove, and in the meantime I mixed the other ingredients for the crust and topping.

As an aside, see that box of salt? It was purchased with the intention of using it to dye fiber using Wilton's cake decorating dyes. It hasn't made it to the dye pot.

Then I just assembled according to PW's intructions, baked it for 35 to 40 minutes, and came up with this.

It's close. Damn close. Maybe their version uses a different crust on the bottom, more like a pie crust? It's been 8 years since I had one, so I don't know exactly.

If I were a proper food stylist, I would have wiped the crumbs from the plate before taking the photo. Real life has crumbs.


cornbread hell said...

wah! i want an annie's rhubarb bar. now.

rilera said...

The rhubarb bars look good! Hope you and Mom are doing well.

Cinnamin said...

Looks and sounds Yummy!

Miss T said...

Mmm, rhubarb. I bet a shortbread crust would be wonderful with rhubarb.

Turtle said...

That looks good! I had to de-head the rhubarb the other day it is so big already! i am going to try these bars this weekend!

Annie said...

Rick, if I thought they would travel well I'd send a batch to you, along with a jar of grape jelly.

Miss T, eureka! I think that is exactly right. A shortbread crust. Why didn't I think of that?

Turtle, let me know how they turn out.

cornbread hell said...

what makes you think they wouldn't travel well?

MJ said...

Real life has crumbs. Truer words never spoken...