Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Strawberry Rhubarb Oat Bars / Rustic Tart

I love summer fruit.  I could easily eat several pounds of strawberries for a meal.  In fact, I have.  That's one of my favorite things about going berry picking.  But what this means is that I rarely ever bake berries when I have them because I find the fresh product so tantalizing.  It's hard to save any for a cake or pie.  This year, however, I impulsively bought some rhubarb at the market and I knew they'd go well with some strawberries, and since you don't eat rhubarb raw, one thing lead to another and before I knew it, I was in the kitchen making these bars.

I want to call them oat bars because the name has a healthy sound that seems to justify my eating them for breakfast.  Both times I made this recipe though, I actually used a 9-inch spring form tart pan and I thought it worked beautifully and would be a lovely way to make this for a picnic or dessert when entertaining so hence why I am also calling this a rustic tart.

This recipe is so simple - it honestly takes no more than 10 minutes of prep time, and that includes washing and cutting the fruit.  There are weight measurements for the oat base, which makes it easy to do everything with a kitchen scale, just kitting the "Tare" button as you go.  Then, the ingredients are mixed in whatever pan you'll be baking with, and the fruit is only lightly sweetened, so the natural flavor is really allowed to shine.

I have a feeling that if you make this once, you may find yourself eating it for breakfast, lunch, and dessert, just as I did.

Strawberry Rhubarb Oat Bars
adapted from Smitten Kitchen
yields one 8x8 pan OR one 9 inch tart pan

1 cup (80 grams) rolled oats
3/4 cup (95 grams) all purpose flour
2 tablespoons (15 grams) whole wheat flour (if you don't have this on hand, just use all purpose flour)
1/2 cup (95 grams) light brown sugar
pinch of salt (1-2 grams)
6 tablespoons (85 grams) salted butter, melted
1-2 stalks of rhubarb, diced small
1 cup (1/2 pin) small-diced strawberries
1 tablespoon (15 grams) granulated or raw sugar

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F.  Lightly butter an 8x8 baking pan or a 9-inch tart pan.
Combine the oats, all purpose flour, whole wheat flour (if using), brown sugar, and salt in bottom of baking pan and mix.
Pour the melted butter on top and stir until clumps form.   I find it easiest to do this with my hands.
Optional: set aside 1/3 cup of the crumble mixture if you want a topping.
Press the rest of the crumb mixture evenly against the bottom of the pan.
Spread your diced berries and rhubarb evenly over the crust.  Sprinkle with granulated or raw sugar.
Scatter reserved crumbs (if using) over the fruit.
Bake bars on the middle rack of your oven at 375F for 30 to 35 minutes.
Allow to cool in pan before cutting.
Note that bars will crisp up in the fridge if placed there for a few hours after cooling.

Leftovers can be stored in the fridge for up to 3 days (if they last that long!).  Bars do get a little softer on the second day, but they remain just as delicious on day 3 as they are when fresh out of oven.