A local farmer’s market near me had rhubarb. I don’t generally do much with rhubarb. I like it, but it’s not my favorite thing to bake with. Still, these stalks were a beautiful deep red and I couldn’t help getting a dozen stalks of this sweet vegetable. (Don’t forget, you can only eat the stalks, the leaves are poisonous).
Obviously strawberries and rhubarb are a classic pairing. I didn’t want to make pie. I like pie, but I don’t love it. Most of my cookbooks are packed away for the move so I didn’t have my go to recipe for berry muffins (which I made into strawberry-rhubarb muffins last summer with great success!) I was considering a crisp or crumble but I decided that I needed something that was more transportable–I wanted to be able to give some of what I baked away to my neighbors. So crumble bars seemed like a good idea. I don’t have recipes for anything like that, at least not in anything that isn’t packed.
I used two disposable 9×9 in pans so that I could give one whole pan away if I wanted (I didn’t!) and my other pans are packed. You can easily cut the recipe in half to make one 9×9 in pan–but why would you want to do that? They keep really well in the fridge for 3-4 days and can reasonably keep another 2 days after that, but they won’t be quite as perfect.
For the crust and crumb topping:
- 3 cups flour
- 2 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 2 cups minute oats
- 1 cup whole oats
- zest of 1/2 lemon
- 1 cup light brown sugar
- 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 14 oz (400g) butter, melted
For the filling:
- 2 cups rhubarb, chopped
- 3 cups strawberries, chopped
- zest and juice of 1/2 lemon
- 2 tbsp cornstarch
- 1/2-1 cup sugar depending on the sweetness / tarntess of the strawberries and rhubarb
- 1/2 tsp salt
Preheat the oven to 350*F. Grease the bottom of the pans (if you aren’t using disposable pans you may want to line them with parchment then grease the parchment.)
Make the crust/topping:
In a large blow, mix together the the flour, baking soda and powder, salt, and both types of oats. Mix in the sugars and lemon zest, making sure to break up any clumps of brown sugar. Pour over the melted butter and mix until all the ingredients come together and resemble wet, clumpy sand. Set aside.
Make the filling:
Mix the chopped strawberries and rhubarb in a medium bowl, toss with the lemon juice and zest. Stir in the sugar, salt, and cornstarch.
Compile the bars:
Put three loose scoops of crumb mixture in each of two 9×9 pans. Pack it down. Divide the fruit mixture between the pans and spread it out evenly. Finally, divide the remaining of the crumble equally between the two pans, sprinkling it over the top of the fruit.
Bake for 40-45 minutes or until the crumble topping is deep golden and the fruit is bubbling.
Let cool completely in the pans. If you are using good pans, I recommend turning the bars out of the pan and cutting them on a chopping block so you don’t hurt your pans, but if you are using disposable ones or don’t care, you can cut them with a sharp knife right in the pans. Serve plain or with ice cream (I recommend butter pecan!)