Strawberry rhubarb oat squares

Yield: 16 squares

Ingredients

1 cup / 80 grams rolled oats
3/4 cup / 95 grams all-purpose flour
1/2 cup / 95 grams dark brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
6 tablespoons /85 grams unsalted butter, melted
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1 tablespoon / 15 grams granulated sugar
1 cup / 125 grams diced rhubarb
1 cup / 155 grams diced strawberries (I cut average-sized berries in half, then each half in quarters)

Directions

Heat oven to 375 degrees F. Grease an 8-by-8-inch square baking pan and set aside.

Measure the oats, flour, brown sugar and salt into a medium mixing bowl and stir to combine. Pour the melted butter over and stir until it gets clumpy. Set aside 1/2 cup of the mixture and press the rest evenly into the bottom of the pan.

Softly toss the rhubarb and strawberries together in a bowl to combine. Spread the fruit mixture over the crust and sprinkle it evenly with cornstarch and granulated sugar. Scatter the reserved crumble mixture over the fruit and bake for 30 to 40 minutes, until the fruit is bubbling and the top crisp is golden.

Let the baked concoction cool in the pan. Once fully cooled, loosen up the edges with a cookie spatula. You can either cut into squares in the pan, or if you’re super-snazzy you can flip them out onto a cutting board.

Store leftovers in the fridge.

Strawberry rhubarb square

Rhubarb curd

Ingredients
600g/21 oz. rhubarb, washed, trimmed and chopped into 1-inch chunks
4 large eggs
200g/7oz. unsalted butter, diced
8 tsp cornstarch
175g/6 oz. powdered sugar

Directions
Put the rhubarb chunks into a food processor and work them until a fine pulp is achieved. Transfer the pulp to a food mill and work it over a medium bowl to catch the juice until you’ve collected about 350 ml.

Add the eggs, diced butter, cornstarch, powdered sugar and 250ml of the rhubarb juice (save the rest) to a pan and set over a low heat, whisking until all of the butter has melted.

Once the butter has melted, switch to a wooden spoon and stir the concoction constantly until the curd has thickened to a consistency a wee bit thicker than custard. Do not increase the heat to speed up the process or your eggs will curdle- nobody likes a chunky custard!

Stir in about 100ml more of the reserved rhubarb juice, then set the custard in the refrigerator to chill.

Once chilled, taste the custard and add a splash of rhubarb juice if it needs more tart, then divide into jars. The curd will keep, stored in the fridge, for up to a week.   This preservative is delightful spread on toast, spooned onto a scone, or dolloped onto bread pudding (as pictured below).  The one negative to this curd is that all of the beautiful color of the rhubarb disappears and the resulting product looks rather paste-like.

Rhubarb curd atop bread pudding

Rhubarb compote

I love the season of the local Farmer’s Markets.  Around New England, because it gets so darn cold in the winter, they generally run from the end of April through early November (outdoor markets, that is).  They bring the fresh goodness that are the first strawberries of the year (which are sold out in the first two hours), early lettuces, spinach by the bag, local asparagus, and bundles of rhubarb.

When Neil and I were milling about the Market last weekend, we saw beautiful bundles of rhubarb and I remarked on them, and he spoiled me and bought me two.  So don’t you know that I began grinding the gears inside of my head immediately to decide what I’d do with them.  Would I roast chunks of the stalks drizzled with simple syrup, or would I bake an up-side-down cake.  Should I make a tea bread, or a pie?  Should I grill it all?  My decision was made the next morning at breakfast when we awoke to half a loaf of artisan Italian bread, rhubarb, and farm-fresh eggs.  Rhubarb compote over thick french toast it would be!

Ingredients:

8 stalks of rhubarb (about a foot long)

2/3 Cups sugar

2 Tbsp Cointreau

Directions:

  • Cut the rhubarb into one-inch pieces
  • Add the rhubarb and the sugar to a large sauce pan and let them simmer at a medium-low heat for about 20 minutes
  • Give the pan a stir and the rhubarb should fall apart
  • Add the Cointreau

I enjoyed left-over compote for days mixed into my plain yogurt.  Over french toast, it’s so wonderfully sweet that absolutely no syrup was necessary.  This would also be great with (smeared all over) a pork tenderloin… or on top of vanilla ice cream.

J