I can't stop loving the word "jammy" right now. It's like, the most beautifully twanged Midwestern word I've used on this blog to date. Especially when, in fact you are Midwestern and the way you pronounce the letter 'a' is, how shall I say? strong? A strongly pronounced 'a.' Think "jammy" with about three a's and you're hearing my voice say the word "jaaaammy." It's great. It's Minnesota. It's me.
Got some rhubarb and want to impress someone special? Grab an 8x8 pan, spray it quick with cooking spray, line with parchment (not necessary, but makes you feel like you are a super baker), and press this beautiful dough, which comes together easily, into the prepared pan after you've chilled the dough for a bit in the freezer. You are so on your way to major impressing.
Chop up your rhubarb and mix it with some sugar, lemon juice and zest and a scoop of tapioca pearls. I swear you can find 'um in the baking aisle at Wal-mart. Just do it! You need to impress people. Just kidding, you need to impress no one but your Maker. Pour the filling over the chilled crust. At this point you can add your strawberries, but I threw mine on top last minute. Be more organized. Don't throw things on last minute.
Make sure you have vanilla ice cream somewhere near, because these bars beg for a scoop of icy cold, creamy, sweet vanilla ice cream. They beg so bad that I even ran out to the store, ahem, Cherry Berry - yes that's right - I paid $10.00 for an itsy bitsy container of frozen yogurt just so that my sweet babies could throughly enjoy their jammy bars.
I just want to dive in right now. I am trying so hard not to get up from this keyboard to scavenge my pantry for a chunk of chocolate, maybe a graham cracker slathered with butter, or a spoonful of Nutella then dipped into the peanut butter jar, anything to save me from dreaming about these absolutely gorgeous bars. Stay. Put. Here. Now.
Jammy Strawberry Rhubarb Bars
recipe loosely based on www.alexandracooks.com
Non-stick cooking spray
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour1/4 cup sugar
Zest of one lemon, divided in half
1 stick cold unsalted butter, diced
2 egg yolks
1 tablespoons heavy cream, 1/2&1/2 or milk
8 cups rhubarb
1 cup strawberries
1/2 cup cane sugar
1 tablespoon tapioca pearls
1 lemon, juiced
Crumb Topping:3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup oats
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
Preheat oven to 400ºF.
Spray an 8x8 baking dish with cooking spray and line with parchment paper, allowing a couple inches of overhang.
In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, half of the lemon zest, and diced butter with your hands or a pastry cutter until the butter resembles the size of small peas. Add the egg yolks and heavy cream and give it a stir. Use your hands, it's fun - dust a little flour on your hands if things become sticky. Form into a disc, cover in plastic wrap and throw into the freezer while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.
Dice up the rhubarb and strawberries, toss into the bowl you just mixed the dough in along with the sugar, tapioca pearls, lemon juice and remaining lemon zest. Give it a stir and let macerate while you prepare the crumb topping.
Grab a small bowl and dump in the flour, oats, brown sugar, spices and butter. Cut that up using your pastry cutter or your hands until chunky. Set aside.
Remove the chilled crust from the freezer and lay on a floured surface. Roll out using a rolling pin until about 1/4" thick, trying to keep it in a square shape. Move the crust into your 8x8, trim up any longer edges and move those to the shorter edges. Prick the crust all over with a fork and if that took you a long time, throw the dish into the fridge and give it a quick chill.
Top the chilled crust with the luscious strawberry rhubarb mixture, then the crumb topping. Pop into the oven for 30 minutes, then reduce heat to 350ºF and bake for about 35 minutes more or until golden on top and bubbling. Let cool completely in pan on wire rack, then lift bars from pan using parchment. Cut into 2" squares. Serve with ice cream. Impress someone.