You guys, it’s here! It’s here! It’s finally here!
It’s May. Last week the farmer’s markets started opening, and the first signs of spring in the kitchen, which include fiddleheads, ramps and rhubarb, are available for sale there.
I know, I know, you must think me a crazy person. To be so excited about the opening of the markets and the first fresh, locally-grown produce of the year.
But I am! I’m just not a winter person. I left Eastern Canada 20 years ago because I couldn’t handle the winters any more, and this past winter has been especially brutal for the West Coast–cold, rainy, snowy. I live for the summer. I’m counting down the weeks until it’s the end of June and I can take time off and hang at the pool with my son.
A big part of my love of summer is all the amazing, fresh ingredients. I love to get inspired by what I find at the farmer’s markets and roadside stands.
And rhubarb is the harbinger of it all. So let’s party!
I have two rhubarb recipes for you this week: today’s is a dessert bar made with rhubarb and aquafaba. It’s a meringue base, so I’m calling these Rhubarb Dream Bars, because they are dreamy like clouds, baked atop a shortbread crust.
The second is a recipe for the easiest jam you’ll ever make. It’s like the laziest jam recipe ever. But it tastes awesome, so there’s no shame. No one needs to know.
Onward with our spring celebration!
Rhubarb Dream Bars
Ingredients for the crust
- 1 cup AP flour
- 1/2 cup icing sugar
- 1/2 cup melted coconut oil or vegan butter
Ingredients for the filling
- 1/4 cup aquafaba
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1/4 tsp cream of tartar
- 1/8 tsp vanilla beans
- 2 stalks diced rhubarb
To make the crust:
- Place the flour and icing sugar together in a bowl, and stir. Make a little well in the centre of the bowl, and pour the coconut oil or melted vegan butter into it. Mix well until the wet is incorporated into the dry. It will be crumby. Press this mixture into the bottom of a greased 8″x8″ pan, and set aside.
To make the filling:
- Place the aquafaba, sugar, and cream of tartar in the bowl of your stand mixer and begin beating it at a low speed, just to incorporate. Then turn up the speed as high as it will go for about 6-10 minutes, until it is fluffy, smooth, thick and glossy, similar to the texture of melted marshmallows. You can also do this with a hand-held mixer if you don’t have a stand mixer.
- Carefully fold about half of the rhubarb into the meringue mixture with a spatula, then scrap it into the pan on top of the crust. Smooth over the top with your spatula, then sprinkle the remaining rhubarb over top.
- Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for about 30-40 minutes, until the top is golden. Remove from oven and allow to cool before slicing into squares. Best enjoyed same day, as the meringue won’t keep well over the long term.