Sunday, June 26, 2011

Rhubarb Custard Bars

I have talked about my grandmother’s baking and her recipes in past posts on Dulce Dough.  I can’t help but think of her every single time I bake.  In fact, I have her entire recipe file and love to look through it.  I love seeing her beautiful handwriting on the recipes, and I love remembering her and her baking.  But the truth is that many of the recipes that are in her box I don’t remember her making.  And some of my favorites that I do remember are not there.  So I am left remembering.  And wondering.

My grandma often made pie, and my favorite pie that she made was rhubarb custard.  I found a few recipes that she had for rhubarb pie, but only two were for rhubarb custard pie.  The two recipes were very similar, but one was a newspaper clipping and the other was in my grandma’s handwriting.  The recipe that was in her handwriting had very vague baking instructions—all it said was “bake as a custard pie”.  So I searched online, looked through cookbooks, and looked through her recipes to find out how to bake a custard pie, and in particular how to bake a rhubarb custard pie.  Of course every recipe had different baking instructions—different times and temperatures.  I ended up making the recipe that was in my grandma’s handwriting, but used the instructions that were on on the newspaper clipping since the recipes were so similar.  But my pie didn’t set up like it was supposed to and didn’t appear done after the recommended time.  I continued to let it bake until it appeared done, but then the crust baked too long and was just about impossible to remove from the pan.  As it was when I made my Grandma’s Old Fashioned Molasses Cookies, things were just not the same.  It wasn’t like grandma’s.  I guess I will try again with a different recipe.  If anyone has a good recipe for rhubarb custard pie, please let me know! 

In the meantime, I came across this recipe for rhubarb custard bars.  Since I have lots of fresh rhubarb that I want to use while I can, I decided to give this recipe a try.  The bars are absolutely reminiscent of rhubarb custard pie—especially the crust and the custard layer.  In fact, I think without the top layer it would be even more like pie.

print recipe

Rhubarb Custard Bars
Rhubarb bars that are reminiscent of rhubarb custard pie.

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 cup butter, cold
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 7 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 5 cups fresh rhubarb, finely chopped or frozen, thawed and drained
  • 1 pkg. (8 oz) cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream, whipped

1. Preheat oven to 350°F and grease 9-in. x 13-in. baking pan.2. Prepare crust by combining the flour and sugar in a bowl. Cut in the butter with pastry blender or fork until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Lightly press into prepared pan and bake for 10 minutes in preheated oven.3. While crust is baking, prepare filling. Combine sugar, nutmeg, and flour in a large bowl. Whisk in the cream and eggs, then gently fold in the rhubarb. Pour over the crust and bake for 40-45 minutes or until the custard is set. Cool completely.4. Prepare topping by beating cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla until smooth then fold in the whipped cream. Spread the topping over the top and cover and chill. Cut into bars before serving. Store bars in the refrigerator.

Prep time: Cook time: Total time:

Recipe adapted from Taste of Home.

June 26 2011


  1. Those look delicious! perfect summertime, refreshing treat =)

  2. They look so good and aren't the food memories from childhood so good :)

  3. Oh, I can just taste these! What a wonderful combination: the rhubarb w/custard! These bars do seem more like pie! Thanks Jill!

  4. Those look so good! If only I could find someone else in my family who would eat rhubarb so I don't feel like I have to eat the whole thing...

  5. How special to have all those wonderful recipes in your grandmother's handwriting. It seems like cooks from our Grandma's days cooked a lot of recipes from memory. I have my Grandma's old cookbook that is full of wonderful. I remember my Grandma always making a special stuffing every Thanksgiving and now nobody has the recipe. Food is such a special connection to loved ones who are gone. I hope that you figure out how to master your Grandma's pie recipe.
    Ps- Your pie bars do look wonderful :)

  6. These bars are just so pretty. I love cool desserts like this in the summer! Thanks for sharing on A Well-Seasoned Life's Sweet Indulgences Sunday.

  7. I feel like we have similar experiences with our grandmothers and cooking. Thanks for sharing!

  8. Jill, these are stunning bars! I love all things rhubarb and now have a new recipe to try :)

  9. I know how you feel about finding old recipes of your Granda's and them not turning out quite the same because of missing directions. I have had the same experience! Funny how Grandma's store the recipes in their heads and don't write the entire thing down ;)! Glad you stumbled across this bar recipe though! It sounds delicious, and judging from the photos it turned out perfect!

  10. My "project" last summer was to work with my Mom and my Mother-in-Law to document the recipes that were "in their head." I'm so glad I did that! Not only do we now have those recipes written down, it was a fabulous experience spending time with both of them working the recipes out. Keep working on your Grandmother's dishes, Jill, ... and rejoice in your memories as you do. :-)

  11. I would eat this with my pinkie up. It looks like such a dainty dessert!

  12. I love custard, rhubarb sounds like a delicious addition! The colors are great too!

  13. You're lucky to have your grandma's recipe file- all of my grandma's recipes were in her head. Your rhubarb custard bar is so beautiful! I have to admit that I've only had rhubarb a few times, but I loved it when I did. I'd love to try these. :)

  14. Well I sure am glad you came across this. These bars sound divine and right up my alley. How sweet you have those recipes.

  15. Wow..really beautiful bars..and so creamy and delicious looking..yummy!!!

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  17. Mmmmm, these looks luscious and refreshing all at the same time! A nice twist away from rhubarb pie. And anything with a cream cheese filling is a winner in my cookbook=D

  18. Isn't it amazing how much cooking knowledge our grandparents had? They knew exactly what it meant to "bake something like a custard." or how to do just about anything else. I love looking at old recipes just to see how differently things are done now. Sorry your pie didn't come out like your grandma's. These rhubarb custard bars look like they would be a delicious sub for it, though.

  19. Oh yes! I saw your picture on Top9 first. This looks delicious and it's so worth top 9, Jill! You are lucky to get some knowledge from your good cook grandma!

  20. These look great, but no custard.

    Try your grandma's again, but this time use some bird's custard powder.
    It will tell you on the can the measurements and adjust it to your filling.
    They should set up grand.

  21. Wow, these look so ridiculously amazing! I've been on a huge rhubarb kick this summer and these are definitely making my to-bake list :)

  22. One of my favorite aspects of cooking and baking is sharing my grandma and great-grandmother's recipes with my kids. They never got to meet either of them, but I feel like my kids get to meet these great women through treasured recipes. Congrats on the Top 9! These look gorgeous.

  23. oh I've never had this before - it looks great!

  24. This is such a dainty dessert, very impressive.

  25. Congrats on top 9 Jill. These bars look great!
    I love reading about your sweet memories about your grandma. Mine has influenced me in so many ways :)

  26. rhubarb is one of the nutritious ingredient and I was excited to try this too. Thanks to you and your grandma!

  27. My wife loves rhubarb (me, i can't get over the bleeding celery look)... Need to pass this on to her. I just might get over my prejudice

  28. I found this recipe on Pinterest and just had to tell you that, although not my grandma who made it,this was an annual dessert at Christmas Eve dinner at her house. I have looked for years for this recipe, but never knew what to call it to search properly. I can't wait to make it, try it and see if it really is my remembered dessert.

    I also wanted to say that I am the same...I have all my Grandma's recipes and love to look at her handwriting. It's one last tangible thing that was only hers....

  29. This recipe sounds so amazing! I look forward giving it a try with my new batch of rhubarb!

  30. This recipe is from a lovely lady at my church. My family LOVES this pie and I hope you will too.

  31. Hi! Just need to know if these can be frozen, or does the custard part turn watery? They look devineđź’š Thanks, Linda

  32. Hi! Just need to know if these can be frozen, or does the custard part turn watery? They look devineđź’š Thanks, Linda

  33. This sounds wonderful so will try it soon when I get some rhubarb. Here is the custard rhubarb pie I make and love.
    Rhubarb Custard Pie
    3 eggs
    3tbsp. milk
    2 c. sugar
    1/4 c. flour
    3/4 tsp. nutmeg
    4 c. cut up pink rhubarb
    1 tbsp. butter
    Heat oven to 400. Beat eggs lightly and add milk. Mix sugar, flour and nutmeg; stir in egg mixture and then rhubarb.Pour into pastry lined pie plate. Dot with butter. Cover with a lattice crust and bake 50 to 60 min. cover edges so doesn't brown too much.


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