A Sarcastic Appetite

Lemon Bars
January 31, 2010, 10:11 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

It’s the middle of winter, so like everyone else with a food blog, I thought I’d bake something lemony and see if I couldn’t warm this place up a bit. (It’s true what they say: the scent of lemon zest is very uplifting. The taste of sparkling wine is, too.) I particularly like this recipe because the shortbread crust requires melted butter, as opposed to beating softened butter and sugar together, and you know I always like not having to break out the hand mixer. There’s one odd note here: she calls for pouring the topping directly into the hot pan in the oven. I complied, but I’m a little skeptical about that. Are we sure that’s absolutely necessary? Also, these were advertised as “very tangy,” and while I like my lemon bars to taste like lemon, I’m not keen on ones that make my mouth pucker and my eyes water. So I added more sugar than the original recipe calls for. It’s still a bit tangy, but in the best way, of course. I look at these lemon bars as a nice way to get some vitamin C from somewhere other than a pitcher of margaritas. Not that I would know anything about that, of course.

Lemon Bars

Adapted from Alice Medrich’s Pure Dessert. Makes about 12-16 bars, depending on what size pan you’ve got (and assuming you cut them sizeably).

For the crust:

1 stick salted butter, melted

1/4  c. sugar

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1/4 tsp. salt

1 c. all-purpose flour

For the topping:

1 1/4 c. sugar

3 tbsp. flour

3 large eggs

1 1/2 tsps. lemon zest, tightly packed

1/2 c. freshly squeezed lemon juice

lots of powdered sugar to dust on top

Line the sides of an 8″ x 8″ pan (or something thereabouts) with foil – dull side up. Preheat the oven to 350°F. For the crust, combine the melted butter, sugar, vanilla and salt. Add the flour and mix until just incorporated; press into the bottom of the pan, evenly. Bake for 24-30 minutes, until the crust is browned at the edges and golden brown in the center.

While that bakes, make the topping: stir the flour and sugar together; add the 3 eggs and whisk well. Stir in the zest and juice. Once the crust is ready, turn the oven down to 300°F. Slide the oven rack out; pour the topping mixture directly into the hot pan. Bake for about 20 more minutes, until the filling no longer jiggles in the center when you tap the pan. Let cool in the pan on a rack; dust with lots of powdered sugar before serving.

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