Bumbleberry Rhubarb Bar

(about one hour, plus cooling time; makes 16 bars)

These fruity little fusion bars could be breakfast or dessert! I used up the last of the berries from my spring garden, along with rhubarb, and gave it a slightly Sri Lankan inflection with lime juice in the filling and cashews for the topping.

If you don’t have fresh berries and rhubarb on hand, frozen will work fine — just cook them down long enough for the excess water to cook off, so you get a good thick filling consistency.

If you’re making this in Sri Lanka, you might use native embilla, a berry with a flavor that’s somewhat similar to grapes, or try Ceylon gooseberries, which have a flavor reminiscent of apricot.

Filling:
1 1/2 c. rhubarb, cut into small pieces
1 1/2 c. fresh berries — raspberries, strawberries, blueberries, etc.
1/2 c. sugar
2 T lime juice
1 1/2 T cornstarch

Bar:
1 1/4 c. flour
1/2 c. quick oats
1/2 c. jaggery or brown sugar
1/2 t. salt
1/2 t. baking powder
1/2 t. cinnamon
1/2 c. butter
1/2 c. chopped cashews

1. Preheat oven to 350F. Line an 8×8″ square pan with parchment paper. (You can butter and flour the pan instead, but it’ll be a little harder to take the bars out neatly.) Set aside.

2. In a small saucepan over medium heat, bring filling ingredients to a simmer. Cook, stirring occasionally, for about ten minutes, until the filling is thickened and rhubarb and berries are starting to break down. Remove from heat; set aside until fully cooled.

3. In a large mixing bowl, combing flour, oats, sugar, salt, baking powder, and cinnamon. Melt butter and drizzle in, stirring until the mixture forms loose crumbs.

4. Press half the mixture into the prepared baking pan. Spread cooled filling onto the crust, and crumble the reserved topping evenly onto the filling. Scatter chopped cashews over the top, pressing in lightly.

5. Bake for 25-30 minutes, until filling is bubbly around the edge and topping is lightly golden. Let cool completely in the pan. Transfer to a cutting board and cut carefully into 16 bars. Enjoy!

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