First off, before I get started on these little beauties, I want to give a shout out to Charlene over at Adventures in Mommy Land for presenting me with my second Versatile Bloggers Award! You can read the little known facts about me from my first Versatile Bloggers Award HERE. Thanks so much Charlene! Charlene is a stay at home mom to six kids and a gaggle of animals. She has some great giveaways, cool crafts and one amazing family. Be sure to check her out and tell her I sent you!
Ok, now on to the best dang rhubarb dessert this side of the Mississippi. Seriously. These little babies are TO. DIE. FOR. Rhubarb is one of those flavors that reminds me of my childhood. Growing up in Wisconsin it seemed as though my mom was always cooking some sort of sweet concoction up with the yummy red stalks. Once I moved away from Wisconsin though, and started living in more southern areas of the country, rhubarb just wasn’t there anymore and I guess you could say I kind of forgot about it.
That is, until I received an email from my local produce shop here in Charlotte telling me that rhubarb was available from Florida of all places. Rhubarb is considered to be a northern vegetable and likes cool temperatures. If it can be grown in Florida, surely it can be grown here in Charlotte, right? After creating this dessert, I’m determined to see if I can make it grow here. In case you don’t know what rhubarb is, I’ve taken a picture of my stash in all it’s glory for your viewing pleasure. Isn’t it gorgeous?! I need more rhubarb!
And you will too after you try these bars out. One thing to note; because of the custard and whipped cream, they should be stored in the fridge. Trust me, they taste best cold anyway. Ok, here’s what you’ll need to bake your own little piece of rhubarb heaven:
For the Crust:
21/2 Cups of Crushed Vanilla Wafers
1 Stick of Butter, Melted
1/4 tsp of Cinammon
1/4 tsp of Nutmeg
For the Custard:
1 Cup of Brown Sugar
1 Cup of White Sugar
1/4 Cup of Flour
3 tbsp of Almond Meal (you can sub flour if you don’t have this)
1 Cup of Whipping Cream
5 Cups of Chopped Rhubarb
1 tsp Vanilla
For the Topping:
8 Oz. of Cream Cheese
1/2 Cup of White Sugar
1 tsp of Vanilla
1 Cup of Whipping Cream, Whipped
Ok, so to get started we’re going to make our crust. First up, grind your vanilla wafers to a pulp in your food processor. Then throw them into a 9×13″ pan. Add to the pile your melted butter, nutmeg and cinnamon. Stir it up well to combine and then press it into your pan to form a crust. Here’s a picture of my mulched cookies and combining all the crust ingredients into the pan. Yum yum!
Once your crust is mixed and patted down into your pan, throw it in the oven for 10 minutes at 350 degrees. When it’s done, pull it out of the oven and let it cool.
While the crust is cooking, let’s get started on the custard. In your mixer add the brown sugar, white sugar, flour, almond meal, whipping cream, eggs, and vanilla. Whisk it together until smooth.
Now add in your rhubarb and stir by hand.
Pour the custard mixture over your cooled crust. Here’s mine:
Spread it around evenly and then put it into your oven at 350 degrees for 40 minutes. Pull it out when the 40 minutes is up. It should look like this. I so want a bite already!
Now, and this is the hard part. You need to place the bars into the fridge and let them cool COMPLETELY. I put mine in overnight. It was really difficult to forgo dessert that first day, but it’s so worth the wait. Your custard needs to cool completely so that it will thicken up. Don’t panic if you pull it out of the oven and it seems a bit unfirm. I have to say I worried a bit that mine wasn’t done all the way when it first came out, but by the next morning after it had cooled, I knew it was perfect.
Once your custard has had a chance to cool, go ahead and put together the final piece of your bars; the whipped cream top. Oh how I love fresh whipped cream. Grab your cup of heavy cream and whip it up in your mixer until stiff peaks form. If you’ve never whipped fresh cream before, it should look like this:
Remove the whipped cream from the mixer and set aside. To your mixer add your softened cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla. Whip it together for a good 2 to 3 minutes. Once it’s completely whipped and mixed, carefully fold your whipped cream back into the mixture by hand. Spread the cream onto your bars and your finished! Now you can sit back with a big hunk of rhubarb goodness and wonder why you didn’t make these sooner. Life is definitely good.