Sunday, March 02, 2008

When life gives you lemons . . .

. . . make lemon bars

I know the old saying is "When life gives you lemons, make lemonade," but to be honest, lemonade just didn't sound like a good way to use the lemons life gave me (specifically a bag of big, juicy organic lemons). However, I wasn't sure exactly what I did want to make. I looked to my Luscious Lemon Desserts cookbook for inspiration, and came up with four options for my most recent poll. Although I was secretly hoping the lemon pudding cakes would win, lemon bars received the most votes.

I added lemon bars to my (overly ambitious) list of things to make this weekend . . . thank goodness my friend Amanda came over to help (and to fill me in on the tropical vacation she just returned from . . . lucky girl).

Classic Lemon Bars

1 cup plus 2 tbsp. all-purpose flour
1 3/4 cup powdered sugar, plus additional for dusting
2 tbsp. finely grated lemon zest
pinch of salt
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, chilled and cut into small pieces
3 large eggs
1/4 cup plus 3 tbsp. fresh lemon juice

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter bottom and sides of 8-inch square baking pan.
2. Whisk together 1 cup of flour, 1/4 cup powdered sugar, lemon zest, and salt in a medium bowl. Cut the butter in with a pastry blender until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Knead dough in bowl until it begins to come together.
3. Transfer dough to prepared baking pan, press it evenly into bottom of pan. Bake for 25 minutes, or until lightly golden brown. Let cool on a wire rack while making filling.
4. Whisk together the remaining 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar, the remaining 2 tbsp. of flour, and the baking powder in a small bowl.
5. Beat the eggs with an electric mixer on high speed (in a medium bowl) for about 2 minutes, or until tripled in volume. Reduce mixer speed to low; add sugar mixture and beat until just blended, scraping down side of bowl. Add lemon juice and beat until just blended.
6. Pour the lemon mixture over the crust and bake 18 to 20 minutes, until the filling is just set in the center. Let cool in pan on wire rack.
7. Just before serving, lightly sift powdered sugar over bars and cut into 2-inch squares. Store in an airtight container.

Notes: The filling mixture will not be very solid when you pour it on top of the crust - don't worry about it! They will turn out great! Also, this recipe is a good candidate for lining the baking pan with foil (and greasing the foil) so the bars lift out easier - mine stuck to the sides of the pan.
Source: Luscious Lemon Desserts by Lori Longbotham

1 comment:

Sarah said...

I LOVE lemon bars and will be trying this recipe out soon!