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Rhubarb Custard Bars

Indulge in Sweet Bliss: Rhubarb Custard Bars

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Rhubarb, with its tart flavor and vibrant color, is a delightful ingredient that shines in desserts. These Rhubarb Custard Bars offer a perfect balance of sweetness and tanginess, creating a decadent treat that’s sure to please any palate. With layers of buttery crust, creamy custard filling, and a luscious cream cheese topping, these bars are a celebration of springtime flavors. Whether you’re a seasoned baker or a novice in the kitchen, this recipe is bound to become a favorite in your repertoire.

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Ingredients:

For the crust:

  • 2 cups of flour
  • 1 cup of chilled butter
  • 1/4 cup of sugar

For the filling:

  • 7 tablespoons of plain flour
  • 2 cups of sugar
  • 1 cup of heavy cream
  • 3 beaten eggs
  • 5 cups of finely chopped fresh or thawed and drained frozen rhubarb

For the topping:

  • 1 cup of whipped heavy cream
  • 6 ounces of softened cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup of granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract

Instructions:

  1. Prepare the Crust: Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C). In a mixing bowl, combine the flour, chilled butter, and sugar. Using a pastry cutter or your hands, blend the ingredients until they resemble coarse crumbs. Press the mixture firmly into the bottom of a greased 9×13-inch baking dish. Bake the crust for 15-20 minutes, or until lightly golden brown. Remove from the oven and let it cool slightly.
  2. Make the Filling: In a separate mixing bowl, whisk together the plain flour and sugar. Gradually add the heavy cream and beaten eggs, stirring until smooth and well combined. Gently fold in the chopped rhubarb until evenly distributed.
  3. Assemble and Bake: Pour the rhubarb custard mixture over the partially baked crust, spreading it out evenly. Return the baking dish to the oven and bake for 45-50 minutes, or until the custard is set and the edges are golden brown. Allow the bars to cool completely in the pan before adding the topping.
  4. Prepare the Topping: In a mixing bowl, beat together the whipped heavy cream, softened cream cheese, granulated sugar, and vanilla extract until smooth and creamy. Spread the topping over the cooled rhubarb custard bars.
  5. Chill and Serve: Cover the baking dish with plastic wrap and refrigerate the bars for at least 2 hours, or until the topping is firm. Once chilled, slice the bars into squares and serve.

Cook Notes and Variations:

  • Nuts Addition: For added texture and flavor, sprinkle chopped nuts such as almonds or pecans over the cream cheese topping before chilling.
  • Citrus Zest: Enhance the brightness of the bars by adding a teaspoon of lemon or orange zest to the rhubarb custard filling.
  • Crust Variation: Experiment with different types of crusts, such as a graham cracker crust or a shortbread crust, to customize the bars to your liking.

Keto and Low Carb Versions:

  • Keto-Friendly: While rhubarb itself is relatively low in carbohydrates, the crust and topping in this recipe contain flour and sugar. To make a keto-friendly version, substitute almond flour or coconut flour for the wheat flour in the crust and use a keto-friendly sweetener such as erythritol or monk fruit sweetener instead of sugar in both the filling and topping.
  • Low Carb Option: To reduce the carb content, you can use a combination of almond flour and coconut flour for the crust and sweeten the filling and topping with a low-carb sweetener such as stevia or xylitol.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):

Q: Can I use frozen rhubarb for this recipe? A: Yes, you can use thawed and drained frozen rhubarb in place of fresh rhubarb. Just be sure to drain any excess liquid to prevent the custard from becoming too watery.

Q: How should I store these rhubarb custard bars? A: Store the bars in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days. They can also be frozen for longer storage, but it’s best to add the cream cheese topping after thawing for optimal texture.

Q: Can I make these bars ahead of time? A: Yes, you can prepare the bars ahead of time and store them in the refrigerator until ready to serve. Adding the cream cheese topping just before serving will ensure it stays fresh and creamy.

Q: Can I substitute other fruits for the rhubarb? A: While rhubarb is the star of this recipe, you can experiment with other fruits such as strawberries, raspberries, or peaches for a different flavor profile.

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In conclusion, these Rhubarb Custard Bars are a delightful fusion of sweet and tangy flavors, making them a perfect dessert for any occasion. With their buttery crust, creamy custard filling, and indulgent cream cheese topping, these bars are sure to impress your family and friends. Whether you’re enjoying them as a sweet treat after dinner or serving them at a springtime gathering, these bars are bound to become a beloved favorite. So, gather your ingredients, preheat your oven, and treat yourself to a slice of sweet bliss with these irresistible rhubarb custard bars.

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