Thursday, June 9, 2011

Rhubarb Ginger Cream Cheese Bars

I'm doing another guest blog for the Katsiroubas Bros blog...this time, I'll be using a product they sell called Ravifruit. It's a line of sweetened fruit purees that comes in frozen form. There are a number of different flavors and for this recipe, a Rhubarb Ginger Cream Cheese Bar, I'm using the Rhubarb Rose puree. It's lightly sweet and a bit tangy.
I will also be using the rhubarb puree in conjunction with strawberry puree in a couple other recipes (think cocktails!! as well as a chutney) and I will be posting them on Kat's Blog as well....but first, the bar.....

The recipe called for using cut up rhubarb, sprinkled over a rolled oat and brown sugar crust, and topped with a cream cheese filling. I figured that adding the rhubarb puree to the cream cheese filling would be a welcome addition. The filling was made from cream cheese, sugar, sour cream (I used Greek yogurt instead), egg, vanilla and grated fresh ginger. I cut the amount of yogurt down by a couple tablespoons to make up for the addition of the rhubarb puree.
Here's the beautiful rhubarb, prior to cutting and ~1/2 cup of the Ravifruit rhubarb puree.
The crust was made from brown sugar, butter, flour, rolled oats and a pinch of salt; it also served as the crumb topping, so I pulled ~1/2 cup out to the side prior to pressing the rest into the pan.

Action shot of creaming the brown sugar and butter:

The zing of the ginger, and the tang of the rhubarb made for a super combo.
I used the microplane to grate the ginger up:
After the crust was prepared, I pressed it into the baking pan. I added the chopped rhubarb in and then poured the cream cheese filling over rhubarb.
The baking pan went into the oven as is, to bake for about half of the total baking time and then I added the crumble topping over the top and continued baking the bars. They were done when the crumble topping was brown and a knife came out clean after testing the center. I cooled the bars then let them set up in the fridge for a few hours before cutting them. They had a nice consistency and flavor, both similar to cheese cake. The rhubarb and ginger tasted great in conjunction with the creaminess of the cheese filling. The fruit puree added a stronger rhubarb flavor.

Rhubarb Ginger Cream Cheese Bars
6 TBS unsalted butter, softened (I used Earth Balance)
3/4 cup brown sugar, packed
3/4 cup flour (I used white whole wheat)
1/2 cup old fashioned oats
1/4 tsp salt
1 8oz pkg cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup Ravifruit Rhubarb Rose fruit puree*
1/4 cup + 1 TBS sour cream (I actually used 2% plain Greek yogurt)
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp fresh grated ginger
2 1/2 cups sliced fresh rhubarb
*To make this recipe without the fruit puree, simply omit and add back another TBS of sour cream or yogurt.

1. Heat oven to 350. Line a 9 inch baking pan w.foil and spray with cooking spray.
2. To make crust/crumb topping, beat butter at medium speed until creamy then beat in brown sugar until well blended. At low speed, beat in flour, oats and salt until crumbly.
3. Remove 1/2 cup of crust to use as topping and press the rest into the baking pan.
4. To make the filling, beat the cream cheese at medium speed until fluffy. Beat in sugar until creamy. At low speed, beat in yogurt and Ravifruit rhubarb puree until combined.
5. Add in eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Then beat in ginger and vanilla.
6. Sprinkle chopped rhubarb over the crust and cover with cream cheese batter.
7. Bake uncovered, 20 minutes, then sprinkle reserved topping over the top and bake for approximately 20-25 more minutes until puffed and lightly browned; a tester should come out clean from a center test.
8. Cool on a wire rack to room temperature then refrigerate for a few hours before cutting into bars.

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