My Minnesotan roots are feeling pretty good right now. I have wild rice soaking. There is a strawberry rhubarb dessert baking in the oven. Presently, I am shucking corn for tonight’s dinner.
As I shuck the corn, the tactile and olfactory experience ushers in fond childhood memories. I feel myself in the backyard of a small river town. I am sitting on a white plastic swing of a bright blue children’s play set. I shuck ear after ear of corn, discarding the silk and husks into a brown paper grocery bag. There is a chorus of birds and the odd rhythmic beat of insects. The air is thick with the smell of sweet ripening vegetation and a hint of lilac from the shrub around the side of the house.
Summer’s rich joy of freshly harvested food is an experience I enjoy every returning season. Strawberries and rhubarb are a magical combination. These bars have a buttery shortbread base. The strawberries and rhubarb are sweetened with honey – cooked into a sweet compote and spread over the crust. The compote is topped with spiced oatmeal crumble.
The smell when these emerge from the oven is too much to not enjoy a few nibbles. The bars are best chilled in the refrigerator they are more set up for serving.
I hope you enjoy these as much as we do!
Yields 24 bars
Shortbread crust with honey, strawberry and rhubarb compote and topped with spiced oatmeal crumble. These sweet and tart bars are tasty when served chilled.
10 minPrep Time
60 minCook Time
1 hr, 10 Total Time
- 2 cups strawberries; hulled and quartered
- 2 cups rhubarb; thinly sliced
- 1 Tb lemon juice
- 4 Tb honey
- 4 tsp cornstarch
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- pinch of salt
- 2 ⅔ cup flour
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 1 ⅓ cup butter
- ⅛ tsp ground ginger
- ⅛ tsp ground nutmeg
- ⅛ tsp ground cinnamon
- ¼ cup rolled oats
- Combine ingredients for compote in a medium saucepan mixing well so fruit is covered in rest of ingredients. Cook over medium heat for 6-8 minutes. The fruit should be tender and the liquids thickening into a compote texture (medium bodied shiny syrup). Set aside to cool.
- Preheat the oven to 350 F. Mix all base crust ingredients in a medium mixing bowl. Use forks or a pastry blender to combine until a ball of dough forms. Once the ingredients are mixed, but still crumbly, I like to use my hands to finish the mixing process. Roll the dough into a tube shape and pull of ¼ the dough to leave in the mixing bowl. Place the other ¾ of the dough into a 9x13 inch cake pan. Bake 350 F for 15 minutes. The crust should just begin to puff and slightly color.
- While the crust is baking, add the ginger, nutmeg and cinnamon to the remaining crust in the mixing bowl. Gently work the spices into the dough with hands. Once the spice are worked in, add the oats to the bowl and work them in, as well. Set the topping dough into the freezer.
- Remove the pre-baked crust from the oven and reduce oven temperature to 325 F. Spread the fruit compote over the hot crust. Pull the topping dough out of the freezer. Crumble the dough evenly over the compote topped crust. Some the fruit layer should still be showing. Return to oven and bake 40-45 minutes. Cool and cut into bars.