Sunday, June 10, 2012

Lemon (or Lime) Bars

You may have noticed a lack in baked goods lately. Here is my reasoning: all I want to bake are Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Brownies. I have desparately been trying to think of things to bake, but nothing compares. I have no desire for baked goods that aren't these brownies. However; I think I may have found something in these Lemon bars that will snap me out of my trance. These were oh soooo good. I just wanted to eat one more...then just one get the picture. This reaction is similar to the one I had with the Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Brownies so maybe, just maybe, I will resume baking things here sometime soon.

Whoever gave lemon curd it's name should have been a little more creative. Curd just doesn't sound good and doesn't nearly do justice to how it tastes. So, if anyone knows of another name I would love to hear it because I reeeeally don't like calling this divine lemon topping curd.

A couple notes:
1.) I made both a Meyer Lemon and a lime version. Did you know that a Meyer Lemon is a cross between a Mandarin Orange and a Lemon? I learned that when I made these. Anyway, back on topic...both worked beautifully. I imagine it would also work really well with normal lemon, it would just be more tart.
2.) Don't slice your finger open when they are covered in lime juice. I promise you that it doesn't feel good.
3.) Enjoy!

Yield: 9-12 bars

For the Crust:
3/4 cup flour
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1/8 tsp salt
6 tbsp cold, unsalted butter, cut into pieces

For the Filling:
3 large whole eggs
3 large egg yolks
3/4 cup fresh Meyer lemon (or lime) juice, strained (about 8 lemons)
1 cup sugar
6 tbsp cold, unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 tsp grated Meyer lemon (or lime) zest

Powdered sugar for dusting (optional)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter an 8 inch square baking pan.

To make the crust combine the flour, powdered sugar, and salt. Mix in the butter using a food processor, pastry cutter, or two forks until the mixture forms large, coarse crumbs the size of small peas.

Press the crumb mixture into the bottom and 1 inch up the sides of the prepared pan. Bake for about 15-20 minutes, until the top is golden and feels firm when lightly touched. Set aside and reduce the heat to 325 degrees.

To make the filling, in the top of a double broiler, whisk together the whole eggs, egg yolk, lemon juice, and sugar until the sugar dissolves. Place over (but not touching) barely simmering water and add the butter pieces. Using a large spoon, stir constantly until the butter melts and the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of the spoon, about 12 minutes (if you have a thermometer, it should register 160 degrees). Remove from the water and strain the lemon curd through a medium-mesh sieve placed over a bowl. Stir in the lemon zest and let cool for 10 minutes. Pour over the baked crust.

Bake until the center is just set, 13-17 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool for 20 minutes then cover and redrigerate until well chilled, at least 3 hours. The filling will further thicken as it cools.

If desired, sift a thick layer of powdered sugar over the top of the bars. Cut into squares and serve.

Note: the sugar tends to melt if stored, so it is best not to use it if you will not be serving them the same day.

Source: Essentials of Baking, Revised Edition, Williams Sonoma, page 55

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