Brown Butter Hazelnut Strawberry Rhubarb Crumb Bars
Brown Butter Hazelnut Shortbread
- 225g unsalted butter, diced
- 120g brown sugar
- 45g milk (see notes)
- 1 tsp vanilla bean paste
- 1 tsp salt
- 340g all-purpose flour
- 60g toasted hazelnuts, finely chopped
- 500g trimmed rhubarb, diced
- 300g trimmed strawberries, diced
- ½ tsp vanilla bean paste
- 100g white sugar
- 3 Tbsp tapioca starch
- ¼ tsp salt
- Place the butter in a small saucepan. Heat over medium heat until melted, then continue to cook, stirring often, until it begins to brown and smell nutty. Watch it carefully, as it can easily be over done. It will go foamy, and then be done soon after. Transfer to a bowl to stop the cooking process. Place in the fridge, stirring occasionally, until it is a soft butter consistency (I like to pour it straight into my mixer bowl to save dishes).
- Preheat the oven to 350°f / 180°c. Grease a 9” square (23cm) baking tin, and line with two pieces of parchment paper, with the ends extending over the edges of the pan to form a ‘sling’ to help you remove the bars after baking.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the cooled brown butter and sugar until light and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the milk and vanilla bean paste and mix to combine. Add the salt and flour, and mix on low until just combined, then add the chopped hazelnuts and mix briefly to incorporate.
- Set aside 300g of the shortbread in a bowl, and place in the fridge until needed. Transfer the rest to the lined baking tin, pressing down to form an even layer with an offset spatula or flat bottom of a drinking glass.
- Dock the shortbread using a fork, then bake for 20 minutes or until golden. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes. Leave the oven on.
FILLING AND ASSEMBLY
- Place the diced rhubarb and strawberry in a medium bowl. Add the vanilla bean paste. In a small separate bowl, whisk together the sugar, tapioca starch, and salt. Add to the bowl along with the fruit, and then mix to combine, ensuring the fruit is evenly coated with the starch mixture.
- Transfer the fruit mixture to the slightly cooled shortbread, flattening down gently to make an even layer.
- Sprinkle the reserved shortbread over the surface of the fruit - I like to press some of it together with my fingers to make bigger crumbs so that there is some size variation.
- Return the baking tin to the oven and bake for a further 55 to 60 minutes, or until the topping is golden brown and the fruit is bubbling. Check it at 40 minutes and tent with foil in for the remainder of the bake time if the topping looks as if it is getting too golden.
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool to room temperature (this can be sped up in the fridge). Remove from the tin using the parchment paper sling.Slice using a sharp knife.
- Store leftovers in an airtight container at room temperature - they are best the day of or the day after they are made.