Rhubarb Meringue Bars -- {My Grandma's Recipes} (2024)

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I made these bars last year. I photographed them. I edited the photos. I even started a post. But then it took me too long and rhubarb season was over, so I thought I’d sit on this recipe for a long year so I could share it when the time was right.

Now is the time.

I don’t grow rhubarb in our garden (yet.) But my grandma does, and so sometimes we get some from her garden, and sometimes we pick some up at the farmer’s market. But I don’t actually have that many recipes for rhubarb, so I searched through my grandma’s recipes and found this lovely.

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“Rhubarb Dessert.” Don’t you love how descriptive that is? Ha.

This recipe, like most I have of my grandma’s recipes, is the bare bones of a recipe. All the ingredients are there, but the very minimum of directions. But don’t worry, I’ll fill it in for you.

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Isn’t rhubarb just gorgeous? You’ll need to chop enough to make 5 cups. Just some 1/2 inch slices is just fine.

Please note, I made only half a recipe of this, since I didn’t think it would last a terribly long time in the refrigerator, and it was just Hubs & I eating it this time around.

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The crust is a simple shortbread. Cream the butter & sugar, add the salt and flour, and press into the bottom of your pan. I opted to line the pan with parchment that overhangs on two sides. This makes it easy to remove from the pan to cut. It’s not strictly necessary, though. My grandma never does this, and I’m not sure how well it would work in a 9×13 pan. Dock it with a fork to keep from getting any large bubbles.

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Beat together egg yolks, flour, sugar, and milk. The recipe calls for evaporated milk, with a nice little note that says “less if regular milk.” Specific enough for you? I didn’t have evaporated milk, so I used a mixture of milk and cream. I think it was about 3/4 cup total instead of the 1 cup of evaporated milk.

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Mix the rhubarb into this mixture.

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Bake for 50 minutes.

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This was the first time I had ever made a meringue topping like this. I tried to be careful not to overbeat the egg whites, but I still managed to push them over the “stiff but not dry” consistency we’re going for. It’s not thehugest deal if this happens, but it can cause your meringue to weep a bit, as mine did. It was just a little, and it still tasted good, but it wasn’tperfect. So do your best, but know that if you overbeat your egg whites, it’ll still taste good.

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Add the sugar gradually.

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After you’ve added the sugar, it should look something like this. Spread the meringue on top of the baked rhubarb mixture, and create some peaks.

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Bake again until the top is browned.

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I prefer to eat this once it’s chilled, mostly because I find warm-ish meringue to be sort of offensive to my palate. But you can eat it at any temperature you find appealing.

The textures here are lovely. Firm shortbread, a silky custard with soft (but not mushy) rhubarb, and pillowy meringue clouds on top. The rhubarb retains a nice tartness that is balanced well with the sweet custard, while remaining the star of the dish.

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This is a great dish to bring to a party or picnic. It’s deliciously summery. It holds up well in the fridge for a couple of days, but it’s best the same day after it’s thoroughly chilled. It makes a great breakfast the next day. Not that I’d know, of course.

Enjoy!

Rhubarb Meringe Bars

  • Servings: 12
  • Difficulty: Intermediate
  • Print

Rhubarb Meringue Bars -- {My Grandma's Recipes} (14)

Ingredients:

Crust:
1 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
2 cups flour
1/4 tsp salt

Filling:
2 cups sugar
1 cup evaporated milk
1/4 cup flour
6 egg yolks
5 cups rhubarb, cut into 1/2 inch pieces

Meringue:
6 egg whites
1/2 cup sugar

Preheat oven to 350˚. Make crust: Cream together butter & sugar, then add salt. Add flour and mix to combine. Press into 9×13, and dock with a fork. Bake for 10 minutes.

While crust is baking, beat together sugar, flour, evaporated milk, and egg yolks for the filling. Stir in rhubarb. When crust is finished baking, pour filling onto crust and return to the oven. Bake for 50 minutes.

While filling is baking, make the meringue. Beat egg whites until stiff, but not dry (don’t overbeat or meringue will weep) then gradually add sugar until all combined. When filling is done baking, spread meringue on top and create peaks. Bake until lightly browned on top, about 10 minutes.

Cool on wire rack, then chill before cutting into squares and serving.

This recipe is easily halved and made in an 8×8 square pan.

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by amber | 12 Comments

12 Comments on Rhubarb Meringue Bars

  1. This is really good. Keeps well without going soggy. Love the shortbread base. Thanks so much for sharing!

    Reply

    • So glad you like it!

      Reply

  2. The best dessert I have ever made! Excellent recipe!!

    Reply

    • I’m so glad to hear that! Thank you!

      Reply

  3. My great grandma has this same recipe and also calls it just “rhubarb dessert” she still makes it for us at least once a summer. Such a huge part of growing up! ♡

    Reply

    • Love that! I wonder where it originated.

      Reply

      • Is the crust still supposed to be soft after 10 minutes? Doesn’t even look like it baked anything

        Reply

        • Hi Diana,
          The 10 minute bake is just a par bake, to help keep it from getting soggy once you add the filling. But the whole thing bakes for another hour after that, so you really don’t want it to have much color or it will get too dark by the end. 🙂

          Reply

  4. Hi. Is bake time adjusted when halved?

    Reply

    • Nope! It should be about the same amount of time. You could check it a few minutes earlier to see how it looks, but it wouldn’t be drastically less time.

      Reply

  5. I have the same recipe but I make the custard on top of the stove and finish the meringue in the oven. My favorite rhubarb recipe

    Reply

    • Interesting! Such a good recipe!

      Reply

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Rhubarb Meringue Bars -- {My Grandma's Recipes} (2024)

FAQs

What is the best thing to do with rhubarb? ›

Rhubarb is a truly special ingredient. With its vivid pink colour and distinctively tangy taste, it can be stewed, poached, roasted and puréed in a range of dishes as well as drinks. Use it in a comforting crumble, a classic syllabub, a fruity chutney or a zingy kebab sauce – the possibilities are endless.

Why shouldn't you pick rhubarb after July? ›

Rhubarb is good to eat in spring or early summer months, so before late July, to be exact. However, during the late summer months, rhubarb stalks tend to become more fibrous and start to lose their characteristic natural flavor. So, it's better not to eat rhubarb in the late summer.

What brings out the Flavour of rhubarb? ›

Crisp apple slices compliment rhubarb's flavor as well, along with other in-season fruits, like plums and peaches. However, there's a softer, floral flavor that might just be the ultimate match for this sharp-tasting veggie, and that's lavender.

What does rhubarb do to your body? ›

Its stalk is commonly eaten. Its root and underground stem are used in traditional Chinese medicine combinations. Rhubarb contains chemicals that might help heal cold sores and reduce swelling. Rhubarb also contains fiber, which might help reduce cholesterol levels and affect stomach conditions.

How do you make rhubarb taste better? ›

Sweeten It: Rhubarb's natural tartness can be balanced with sugar or other sweeteners. You can make rhubarb compote, pie, or jam by simmering chopped rhubarb with sugar until it becomes tender and sweet. Adjust the amount of sugar to your taste.

Why do you pull rhubarb and not cut it? ›

Depending on the variety, they may be only 12 inches long, or as long as two feet. To pick rhubarb, hold the stalk firmly, pull and twist. Do not use a knife to cut the stalks from the plant. The knife can carry diseases from plant to plant, and the remaining stalk can be a point of entry for other pests.

Does rhubarb have a companion plant? ›

Good companion plants for rhubarb are onions & garlic, and also members of the brassica family (cabbage, kale, broccoli, turnips - etc). Chop rhubarb into smallish chunks, put in saucepan and add water.

What pairs with rhubarb pie? ›

How to Serve Rhubarb Pie. Serve the rhubarb pie cool or warm. It's delicious as-is, but the sweet and tart pie would be perfectly complemented by a scoop of vanilla ice cream or a dollop of homemade whipped cream.

Why are strawberries and rhubarb paired together? ›

Rhubarb, when mixed with strawberries, gives you that sourness to balance the sweetness and the complexity.

What can't you eat on rhubarb? ›

Rhubarb leaves contain a poison called oxalic acid, so should never be eaten – cut them off and discard. Maincrop rhubarb can sometimes have tough, stringy ribs, so after washing it, strip these off with a small, sharp knife and slice the stalk thinly or thickly as required.

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