Rhubarb Curd Bars

9 bars
1 hr 10 min

Bright and tangy Rhubarb Curd Bars with a touch of ginger are layered on top of a buttery shortbread crust and topped with a silky Swiss meringue.

Rhubarb Curd Bars

If you like lemon bars, you're going to love these rhubarb curd bars! A sweet yet perfectly mouth-puckering curd with a hint of fresh ginger sits atop of a buttery, soft shortbread crust. Add on a marshmallow flavored meringue and you've got yourself a hit!

Plan ahead for when you can find that elusive rhubarb - the season runs from April through July. Keep in mind that rhubarb leaves are toxic, so you will only want to use the stems. Most grocery stores or markets will remove all leaves ahead of time, but be sure to remove any additional leftover leaves.

Easy shortbread recipe

This is such a quick cookie base! Cream together the butter and sugar in stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and beat on medium speed until light and fluffy, then add in the flour and salt and mix on low until just combined.

Add the shortbread to a parchment lined 8x8 inch square pan and use clean fingers to press the dough evenly into the pan. Be patient! This part can take a bit of time, but be sure to get the dough the whole way into the corners and sides.

Bake the base in a pre-heated 350℉ for 15 minutes, then remove from the oven. While the crust is baking, make the curd.

Rhubarb and ginger curd

To make the rhubarb curd, begin by chopping the rhubarb and add it to a saucepan with the sugar and water and turn to medium high heat. Cook until the rhubarb gets very soft and starts to break down, then add the freshly grated or minced ginger (be sure to peel it).

Add the puree to a food processor or blender and blend until completely smooth, then pass the rhubarb through a fine mesh sieve into a bowl by stirring with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula until it comes out the bottom of the sieve. This helps to get rid of any fibrous pieces and makes an extra luscious curd. This step does take a bit of time to get the curd through. You can omit this step if you'd like and it will still be delicious, but will have a bit more texture.

Add the eggs, lemon juice, and sifted sugar and flour into the curd and mix with a whisk until combined. Because of the addition of the eggs, the curd lightens in color significantly. You can absolutely leave it as is, but I chose to add a touch of pink food coloring to brighten the curd closer to its original color. You could also use some pulverized freeze dried strawberry or raspberry powder to add color naturally, though it will add a little bit of flavor. The color will develop even more as the bars bake.

Pour the curd on top of the par-baked shortbread, then bake the bars for 20-25 minutes until the curd is fully set. The center will still be slightly jiggly, which is fine, but it should not be sloshy. Simply tap the side of the pan (with an oven mitt on!) to see how the curd is setting up. Remove the bars from the oven and cool for one to two hours on a wire rack, then chill in the fridge for an additional 2 hours.

How to make the Swiss meringue

Once the bars are fully set and chilled, make the Swiss meringue. Separate one egg and add the whites to a glass or metal bowl, then add the sugar and salt. Add one inch of water to a saucepan and place the bowl on top. The bottom of the bowl should not touch the water. Bring the water to a simmer and whisk the whites and sugar every 30 seconds or so until the sugar has completely dissolved and is quite warm to the touch. Test this by rubbing your fingers together in the mixture - if you can still feel sugar granules, keep cooking and whisking until it's completely smooth.

Add the mixture to a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment and whisk on high speed until stiff peaks form and the meringue holds in the center of the whisk and you can turn the bowl completely upside down without the meringue moving.

Slice the bars into 9 pieces, then pipe a kiss of meringue on each piece. You could add a dusting of powdered sugar to the tops of the bars rather than adding the meringue, if preferred.

Can I freeze the rhubarb curd bars?

YES! You can freeze the rhubarb curd bars for up to 3 months. Once the bars are fully cooled and set (and before adding any powdered sugar or meringue), add the cut bars to a cookie sheet and freeze for about 2 hours. Then, wrap the cut bars in plastic wrap then place in a ziplock bag and freeze for up to 3 months. Unwrap while still frozen, place in the fridge to thaw, then add the powdered sugar or meringue.

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Recipe details
  • 9  bars
  • Prep time: 30 Minutes Cook time: 40 Minutes Total time: 1 hr 10 min
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  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter room temperature 113g
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar 50g
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla paste or extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour 120g
Rhubarb Puree
  • 3 cups rhubarb chopped ~380g
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar 67g
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 teaspoon ginger freshly grated or minced
Rhubarb Curd
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar 150g
  • 3 T all-purpose flour 8g
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 T freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 cup rhubarb puree 230g
  • Red/pink food coloring optional
Meringue (optional)
  • 1 egg white from a large egg
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar 50g
  • Pinch kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla paste or extract
Rhubarb Puree
Clean & chop the rhubarb and add to a pot with the sugar and water. Heat over medium until the rhubarb is completely soft and broken down, about 10 minutes. Add the ginger in the last few minutes of cooking. Transfer the rhubarb to a food processor or blender and puree until smooth. Pass the puree through a fine mesh sieve to get rid of any thick pulp. This step can take a bit of time, and is completely optional (I just prefer it super creamy). Measure out one cup (380g) of the puree for the curd.
Grease and line an 8x8-inch square pan with parchment slings and preheat the oven to 350℉.
In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar for about 3 minutes on medium speed, then add the vanilla, salt and flour. Press the mixture into the pan as evenly as possible, being sure to get it into the corners and sides (it will be very soft). Bake for 15 minutes, then remove from the oven.
Rhubarb Curd
While the crust is baking, sift together the sugar and flour, then add the eggs, lemon, and rhubarb puree. Add red or pink food coloring to brighten up the curd (you can also use freeze dried strawberry or raspberry powder to do this naturally), as the addition of eggs flattens the color considerably.
Pour the curd over the partilly baked crust, then bake for an additional 20-25 minutes until the curd is completely set in the center (a very slight jiggle is ok, but it shouldn’t be sloshy at all). Test this by tapping the side of the pan.
Allow the bars to cool completely on a wire rack (about 1-2 hours), then transfer to the fridge for an additional 2 hours to fully chill and set.
To make the meringue, fill a saucepan with about 1 inch of water and turn to high heat. Add a heat proof bowl over top that fits securely. You don’t want any of the water touching the bottom of the bowl.
To the bowl, add the egg white, sugar, and salt and whisk to combine. Continue lightly whisking until the mixture is warm and the sugar granules have dissolved. Check this by rubbing your fingers together in the mixture. It should feel completely smooth - if you can still feel sugar granules, continue cooking. If you have a thermometer, cook it to around 160℉. It should feel rather warm, but not hot.
One the mixture is ready, add it to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment (or use a handheld mixer) and whip on medium speed for about a minute. Turn to high speed and whip until stiff peaks form. Once the meringue hits stiff peaks, add the vanilla, then mix once more to combine. The meringue is ready when the bowl can be turned upside down without any movement or sliding.
Pipe on any decoration of your choosing.
  • Cut and serve! Store in the fridge for one week. These can also be frozen for around 3 months (cut, freeze on cookies sheet, wrap in plastic wrap & put into freezer bag. Thaw in fridge), but do so before adding the meringue.
  • The meringue is optional. You can also leave the bars as is, or sift on a dusting of powdered sugar.
The Cozy Plum | Callan
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