Don’t you hate it when you eat an entire 1 lb bag of SweeTart jelly beans from Easter except you leave all the purple ones because you don’t like them, but end up eating all the purple ones anyway? And then you don’t even have any of the delicious blue ones left to break up the nasty fake-grape flavor. It’s tough being a sugar addict, lemme tell you.
I have never had anything like this before. It’s like an amazing combination of rhubarb pie and lemon meringue pie, with double the amount of crust (yes please). Plus it came together really easy.
Which was refreshing because sometimes I have issues with fruit-y type dessert bars. Back in college my roommate Sarah and I tried to make some lemon-y pie thing one time. I can’t remember if we accidentally under-baked it, or if we were just too impatient for the trivial baking-step. Somehow it ended up in the freezer (to firm up, of course) and then 10 minutes later, before it was even cold, we were sitting on the floor eating it out of the pan with spoons. Ah, college.
I had another fruit bar mishap just a couple weeks ago. I was talking on the phone with my sister Laura, who said she was thinking about making pineapple bars. They would be exactly like lemon bars, except she would use blended pineapple instead of lemon juice.
It was going to be amazing. I took meticulous notes so that I would be able to share it with all of you wonderful people. Here are my baking-time notes:
26 minutes at 350 +5 +5 +5 +5 +5 +5 +5
An hour of baking and my pineapple custard was still completely liquid. Only after checking my bars every 5 minutes 7 times in a row did I realize that my oven was not even on.
Rhubarb Meringue Squares
Source: slightly adapted from the Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook
2 cups flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup butter
2 cups sugar
1/4 cup flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 cup half and half or cream (I used cream)
6 egg yolks, beaten
5 cups fresh or frozen (thawed, undrained) diced rhubarb
6 egg whites
3/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
Preheat oven to 350. Lightly grease a 13x9x2-inch baking pan.
For crust, in a large bowl combine the 2 cups of flour, 1 tablespoon sugar, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Using a pastry cutter, cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Press mixture into the bottom of the pan. Bake for 10 minutes. (Mine was not golden on top.)
For custard, in a saucepan combine the 2 cups sugar, the 1/4 cup flour, and the 1/8 teaspoon salt. Beat the egg yolks and the 1 cup half-and-half (or cream) in a separate bowl, then combine with the flour mixture in the saucepan. Turn the burner on to medium heat. Stir until the mixture gets thick. This took about 10-15 minutes for me. Do not allow it to boil.
Sprinkle the rhubarb over the baked crust and then pour the custard over the top. Bake for 40 minutes. It will not look quite set, but shouldn’t be super jiggly.
For meringue, in a bowl combine egg whites, 3/4 cup sugar, and the vanilla; beat on medium speed for about 5 minutes, or until soft peaks form. Spoon on top of the baked custard; carefully spread to edges. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until golden. Cool, cut into bars, then devour! Store these guys in the fridge.