I think that the past two days (July 24th and 25th) were the nicest summer days yet (at least in my area). There was a cool breeze, but it was still pleasantly warm… the perfect combo! It was nice not to have one of those beastly hot days where I go outside and instantly feel like I was poached in my own sweat. Ick!!! We’ve also had plenty of rain, and let me tell you that I’m absolutely loving that! I think that one of my favorite things to do is to sit and watch a thunderstorm. They’re just so awesome!!! My favorite kind of thunderstorms are the ones where I look up toward the sky and I see those big, puffy, periwinkle-blue storm clouds ahead; then there’s a breeze, and best of all, the smell of rain. It’s probably the best smell ever to be in existence.
Alright, so I guess at this point you’re wondering if the weather talk ties in at all. Well, originally, I was going to say that the perfect summer day calls for the perfect summer dessert. :) I was never really looking for a recipe with rhubarb until I had a ton of leftover rhubarb from making pie. I literally had enough to make another pie, but, of course, I didn’t want to wear out the eaters on rhubarb pie. :) So, I poked around and found this recipe in a cookbook that my Mom gave me last year. I had to give my mom a good tease because when I told her that I wanted to make these bars, she was very hesitant. She thought that no one would be able to taste the rhubarb, but she didn’t know that the recipe called for four cups of rhubarb… with that, everyone would be able to distinguish it’s great flavor! Well, when everyone dug in, she was the first one to say that the bars were fabulous. I totally agree with that statement. The crust is a butter-y shortbread and the creamy, flavorful, custard filling makes the whole thing delightfully gooey. The cream cheese frosting tasted great (how could it not? It has cream cheese!!!) and was nice and fluffy. It was a nice finish to a perfect summer day!
Rhubarb Custard Bars Recipe (adapted from TasteofHome Cookies):
For the Crust:
2 cups flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 cup cold butter
For the Custard Filling:
2 cups sugar
7 tbsp. flour
1 cup vanilla yogurt
4 cups chopped rhubarb (about 1/2 inch pieces)
1 cup chopped strawberries
For the Frosting:
6 oz. cream cheese
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup heavy whipping cream, whipped
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and set out one greased 13×9 inch pan.
2. For the Crust: Mix the flour and sugar together in a medium bowl. Cut in the butter and mix it with your hands until it is a course, crumbly mixture. Press the dough into the prepared 13×9 inch pan and bake it for 15 minutes before removing it from the oven. The dough will not appear golden brown or done baking at all, but definitely take it out after 15 minutes because it will bake some more later. :) There is no need to cool the crust.
3. For the Custard Filling: In a large bowl, combine the sugar, flour, yogurt, and eggs until smooth. Add the chopped rhubarb and strawberries and mix well. Gently pour it into the 13×9 inch pan, on top of the baked crust. Continue to bake the bars for 45 minutes or until the custard has set and the edges turn golden brown. Allow the pan to cool for half an hour before moving it to the refrigerator to cool completely.
4. For the Frosting: Beat the cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla together until smooth. Fold in the whipped cream. When the bars are fully cooled, spread the frosting over the top of the bars.
5. Serve and enjoy the taste of summer!