FOR SUGAR COOKIE CRUST:
Adjust oven rack to middle position and preheat oven to 350°. Lightly spray an 8-by-8-inch baking dish and line with one sheet parchment or wax paper. Spray again and then lay second sheet crosswise over it.
Pulse flour, confectioners’ sugar, cornstarch and salt in a food processor work bowl fitted with a steel blade. Add butter and process to blend, 8 to 10 seconds, then pulse until mixture is pale yellow and resembles coarse meal, about three 1-second bursts.
Sprinkle mixture into lined pan and press firmly with fingers into an even 1/4-inch layer over entire pan bottom and about 1/2-inch up sides. Refrigerate for 30 minutes, then bake until golden brown, about 20 minutes.
FOR RHUBARB FILLING:
Macerate the rhubarb in sugar, salt and cornstarch in a colander over a bowl for 30 minutes. Place drained rhubarb in a saucepan and cook over low-medium heat until tender.
FOR CREAM CHEESE TOPPING:
In a bowl, whisk cream cheese until smooth and whisk in eggs, sugar and vanilla. Set aside.
Evenly spread rhubarb over precooked cookie-crust base and pour cream cheese mixture over it. Bake in middle of oven until slightly puffed, about 15 to 20 minutes. Cool completely in pan and cut into 9 bars. Place each bar in a flattened muffin paper cup and chill.
Sprinkle raw sugar on top of the assembled bars in an even layer. Carefully remove from muffin paper cup and using a kitchen butane torch, create a crunchy caramelized crust. Bars are best consumed within a few hours of completion, but can be covered and stored in the refrigerator for a day or so.
Makes 2 crusts
Recipe courtesy of: THE VILLAGE TEAROOM
10 Plattekill Avenue, New Paltz
“Quaint” is one of those words that can serve to be both a blessing and a curse for an eatery, as it tends to describe the aesthetic charm of a place without taking into account the quality and appeal of the food. Happily the Village Tearoom Restaurant & Bake Shop, housed in a converted 19th-century tailor shop in New Paltz, wears the “quaint” badge with honor, delivering on ambience as well as on the excellence of the food and drink. Owner and chef Agnes Devereux (2014 EHV Local Hero Award recipient, see page 61) has been showing her commitment to artisanal baking and local ingredients for over a dozen years and filling the breakfast, lunch and dinner menus at the Tearoom with everything from savory Dingle pies to sweet honey bee cakes. Here she has shared with us one of her favorite spring treatments for rhubarb.