CHEF JEFF: One Byte At A Time — Rhubarb Dream Bars

Anyone who thinks rhubarb is a garden nuisance has never attended a rhubarb festival, where you can sample many different kinds of desserts, most of them quite tasty, that feature the “pie plant.”

I’ve had the chance over the years to take in the annual rhubarb festival sponsored by University Lutheran Church in Grand Forks. In fact, I was asked to judge the contest associated with the June festival several times.

Unfortunately, this spring’s event has been canceled for the second year in a row due to the COVID-19 pandemic. But that doesn’t stop rhubarb aficionados, including me.

I’ve been a fan of rhubarb since my childhood. I fondly remember picking stalks of rhubarb and dipping them into a bowl of sugar. Heck, I even ate it without the sugar. And I can’t forget my Mom’s rhubarb pies and her rhubarb sauce, one of my Dad’s favorites. He used to drizzle the sauce over ice cream.

I’ve carried on the tradition of making sauce, even going so far as freezing rhubarb in 4-cup vacuumed sealed bags for a wintertime topping for my ice cream.

Just the other day, I made some sauce, since we have a bumper rhubarb crop this year. But my crowning achievement was the dessert I made. The rhubarb dream bars were an immediate hit with Therese and our neighbor Judy.

I don’t recall having a rhubarb dessert that was so tasty. If you are looking for a winning recipe, look no further. This has blue ribbon written all over it.

Rhubarb Dream Bars
CRUST: 2 cups flour
¾ cup powdered sugar
1 cup butter
FILLING: 4 eggs, beaten
4 cups rhubarb, chopped
2 cups sugar
¼ cup flour
½ teaspoon salt
Mix crust and press into 9-by-13-inch pan. Bake in preheated 350-degree oven for 15 minutes.
Combine eggs, sugar, flour and salt. Mix. Fold in rhubarb. Pour on top of baked crust. Bake for 40 to 55 min until set and edges start to brown.

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