Raspberry and rhubarb. How is it that bountiful gardens are blessed with rhubarb bounties for five months straight, and that our ever-bearing raspberries burst into perfect pink fruition twice during that glorious span? Now deep into September, my second blooming of raspberries is a couple weeks gone, but my freezer is full-to-bursting with yogurt containers full of the sweet fruit, and my rhubarb is still going strong, even after the fall equinox has turned our Northern hemisphere tilting toward darker days.
This girl’s not complaining yet though. The garden still is colorful with chard and kale, the mums and nasturtiums keeping the bees entertained on sunny days, and the grass has regained some of its verdancy but requires little mowing. Indoors, the approaching winter begs for a warm oven full of steaming baked goods and a stove topped with simmering soups, and I’ll gladly be complicit in answering the call to my kitchen.
This recipe came from my grandmother’s recipe box, though the original recipe was for rhubarb only, so I’ve added in the raspberries. As well, in this recipe I have replaced the sugar with honey (I haven’t played with this in all of my recipes yet, but this one I have locked down).
While I’m baking, I’m listening to Foals’ Antidotes, the 2008 release that turned me on to my favorite band of the last decade. The album is high-energy, post-punk put out by a UK band, with a playful guitar that alternates between playful picking and the whammy bar. Yannis Philippakis’ vocals are clean and short, without being whiny or drawn out, and Jack Bevan’s drums are tight and driving, keeping Foals feeling dancey even on their slowest tunes. I dig.
- 1⁄2 cup butter at room temp
- 1 1/5 cup honey (or 1 cup sugar)
- 2 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1⁄4 teaspoon salt
- 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour (this can be cut to 2 cups when using sugar)
- 1⁄2 cup coconut milk (goat milk or traditional dairy is fine as well)
- 2 1⁄2 cups fresh blueberries (2 1⁄2 cups frozen blueberries will do as well, but make sure to blanch thoroughly)
- Heat the oven to 350°, and grease a 9″ x 13″ glass baking pan.
- Using an electric mixer, cream butter, honey and flour together.
- Using fingers, press mixture into the bottom of the baking pan, spreading as evenly as possible, and then bake for ten minutes.
- In the meantime, mix together egg yolks, raspberries, chopped rhubarb, and honey.
- Remove crust from the oven, and let cool for ten minutes, before pouring raspberry rhubarb mixture on top. Bake for 40 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and set aside.
- Whip together egg whites and 2 tbsp. sugar until frothy. Using a pastry brush, paint rhubarb raspberry bars with egg whites.
- Return to oven for an additional 10 minutes. The egg white topping will harden and brown slightly. Remove from oven, and let cool 10-15 minutes before cutting.
- Serve warm with vanilla ice cream or fresh whipped cream, and a spring of mint for garnish.