This is one of my favorite weekends of the year. Amma is here in the Pacific Northwest as part of her summer tour. For many years, my dear friends Andrea, Sharon and Andrea’s son Jack have migrated to Seattle from Vancouver, BC to attend Amma. This year was no exception. To celebrate the visit, we made a glorious meal for Saturday’s dinner. Dave made his world famous macaroni salad and barbecued chicken. We also had some of the best early summer corn we have ever had. My contribution was the strawberry-rhubarb shortcake bars I concocted on Saturday afternoon. I had gone to the produce stand to get things for juicing. When I saw the bright red stalks of rhubarb sitting next to the strawberries…. I decided I would come up with something for dessert. I didn’t want to make a pie as I was also making quiche for the weekend, and I am not that into pie crust in the first place. I wanted something everyone could just help themselves to; like a bar cookie. A quick internet search led me to Carla Hall’s Strawberry Shortbread Bars. Perfect….I just had to incorporate my rhubarb. None of us care for things “too sweet” and the contrast of lemon, rhubarb and strawberry is a total winner. This recipe could actually accommodate any summer fruit. Blackberries rule, here in Seattle, which has me thinking about a blackberry, Thai basil and lime combination. Ooh la la!
Strawberry Rhubarb Shortbread Bars
1/2 pound butter softened
1 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 3/4 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup almond flour
2 cups sliced strawberries
2 cups sliced rhubarb
1/4 cup lemon juice
2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest
2 tablespoons of sugar
1/2 cup Strawberry Jam
Heat the oven to 350′. Prepare a 9 x 13 baking pan by greasing it with a little butter.
In the bowl of the food process combine the butter and the sugar. Add the vanilla, salt, flours and pulse until coarse and crumbly.
Set aside about 1/2 cup of the mixture in the refrigerator. Pat the remaining dough into the prepared pan. Make sure it is even. Poke the shortbread with a fork to allow steam to escape. Bake until lightly brown around the edges, about 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool.
While the shortbread is baking, prepares the strawberry rhubarb mixture. Place the lemon juice and remaining sugar in a medium pot. Warm over medium-low heat. Add the rhubarb and bring to a simmer. Cook the rhubarb until it is soft, about 7 minutes. Add the strawberry jam and return to a simmer. Add the sliced strawberries and cook another 5 minutes. Add in the gated lemon zest.
Spread the mixture over the shortbread. Make crumbles out of the remaining shortbread dough that was chilling in the fridge and sprinkle them over the top of the fruit mixture. Return the pan to the oven and bake until the shortbread crumbles are golden.
Let cool and refrigerate. Serve with a big scoop of your favorite vanilla ice cream.
Enjoy, with gratitude and great friends!
Have a wonderful evening,