Because it’s Monday, I think we deserve a slice of homemade pie.
But, ideally, without all the actual work of having to make a pie.
So here I am today, proposing to you that we indulge our sweet tooth with these Cherry-Rhubarb Pie Bars instead. I hope you say “yes”.
Kind of like a cross between a fruit pie and a shortbread tart, these Cherry-Rhubarb Pie Bars might just be my new favorite Summer dessert (at least until I find my next favorite dessert). Sweet. But not overly so. With a good mix of textures to keep each bite interesting. AND they turned out to be the most perfect shade of pink (#millenialpink). Obviously, I’m feeling all the feels over these babies.
I also can’t stress enough how easy these are to prepare. No rolling, chilling or crimping required. And the fact that this recipe feeds a crowd (you get a whole 9 X 13-inch pan), makes these treats ideal for backyard gatherings and poolside parties. Or toss a couple in your picnic basket and get your butt to the beach. You’ll be glad you did!
As it turns out, rhubarb and cherries are a pretty good pairing. I’ve done the classic rhubarb + strawberries many times. And last year I played with rhubarb + raspberries. But this was my first time adding cherries to the equation. I’m not sure why I never thought to do that before. It seems kind of obvious to me now. But there is no sense in lamenting about the past. Instead, I’m excited to move forward and explore this combination in other recipes. And with cherry season on the horizon, now is the perfect time to do just that.
I also tried using pistachio meal for the first time (which I just made myself by finely grinding shelled pistachios in my food processor) instead of almond or hazelnut meal, which I typically reach for when baking. The pistachio meal compliments the rhubarb and cherries nicely. And I encourage you to give it a try. But if you’re not feeling it, you can substitute it with something else. These pie bars are very forgiving.
I’m sharing these Cherry-Rhubarb Pie Bars as part of our monthly Eat Seasonal round-up organized by Becky from Vintage Mixer. At the start of each month, myself and some of my blogging friends create new recipes (links below!) highlighting all the wonderful fruits and vegetables that are currently in season. Additionally, Becky posts an extensive list of recipe suggestions over on her monthly seasonal eating guide. I hope you check them all out and find some inspiration for the month of June. As you can see from the image below, we were all in a bit of a “pink” mood!
Recipe adapted from my Blueberry-Thyme Pie Bars
June Eat Seasonal Recipes
Rhubarb & Orange Frangipane Galette by Simple Bites
Roasted Strawberry Yogurt Pops by Completely Delicious
Greek Three Bean Salad by Flavor the Moments
Chunky Citrus Guacamole by Foodie Crush
Strawberry Lime Chopped Salad by Vintage Mixer
Minty Sweet Pea Hummus by She Likes Food
Simply Strawberry Pie by Joy Food Sunshine
French Green Lentil and Quinoa Salad by Letty’s Kitchen
Cherry Rolls by Kitchen Confidante
Pimento Cheese Spread w/ Pickled Green Garlic, Radishes and Rhubarb by Food for My Family
Whether you’re a baker, math nerd or just a straight up hungry person, today is a day worthy of celebration. It’s Pi Day. The annual observance of the mathematical constant π (pi), who’s first three digits are 3.14 ( = March 14).
So of course, the best way to celebrate Pi Day is by making, eating and sharing actual pies. Right?
Did you know that I basically spent all of my 20’s in either a research laboratory or a classroom? Yup, it’s true. I was busy getting my PhD in Biochemistry, and then later completing a post-doctoral fellowship in Cancer Biology. And I was blinding men with my scientific prowess left and right (not really, but a girl can dream). Full on goggles and lab coat and all that good stuff. So as a bona fide science dork turned food blogger, Pi Day hits home for me on so many levels. Thus, it’s a day that I couldn’t let pass without some recognition.
As much as I love desserts, I must admit that pie is never really my go-to. I’m much more of a cake and ice cream kind of gal. So for my Pi Day inspiration, I asked my Mom for some help. She sent me a rhubarb and berry pie recipe that she had torn out from the pages of a 2001 issue of Better Homes and Gardens. It’s a recipe that she’s made successfully dozens of times over the years. And with some early season rhubarb in hand, I decided it would be a good one to adapt for today’s post.
The original recipe is for a full pie. But I flipped the script and turn it into individual hand pies instead. Because who doesn’t love cute little hand pies?!?!
Because these hand pies don’t take as long to bake as a full sized pie, I pre-cooked the filling ingredients on the stove top for a few minutes. This also helps to get rid of some of the excess juices from the fruits, so the hand pies come out with a wonderfully flakey crust that isn’t mushy at all. The filling is almost jam-like, and these Rhubarb-Berry Hand Pies with Chocolate kind of remind me of a Pop-Tart, which were a childhood favorite of mine.
The buttermilk pie crust recipe is from Joy the Baker. It’s hands down my favorite pie crust recipe ever. I can’t imagine ever needing another one. If you’ve ever made pie dough before, I’m sure you’re familiar with the phrase “pea-sized pieces of butter”. This is the size of butter that most recipes will tell you to aim for as you work the butter into the dry ingredients. I actually find this to be misleading. You want the butter to be pea-sized by the END of making/shaping the dough. Not during the middle of the process. Because as you work the dough, the butter pieces will just keep getting smaller and smaller. So I aim for kidney bean-sized pieces of butter, which by the end will be reduced in size closer to that of a pea. Does that make sense?
To make sure all my hand pies were the same size, I actually created a template with a piece of paper and used that as a guide to cut out the rectangles of dough. You certainly don’t have to be that fussy, but I wouldn’t be my overly obsessive scientific self if I didn’t go the extra mile to make them all evenly sized. Using a 4 X 5-inch template, I was able to cut out 14 rectangles, giving me a total of seven hand pies. If you need more pies, just make and use a smaller template.
The final ingredient worth mentioning here is the chocolate. I added chopped dark chocolate to the filling, which melts into deliciously decadent little pockets of goodness during baking. And for the finishing touch, I channeled Jackson Pollock and drizzled some melted chocolate over top. Personally, I LOVE chocolate paired with fruit. But if you’re a purest either way, you can leave it out.
Happy Pi Day! I hope you all get the chance to celebrate!