Thursday, September 2, 2010

Fresh Lemon Bars

When’s the last time you had homemade fresh from the oven lemon bars?

Every time I make these I get rave reviews. Is it the ratio of sweet to sour or is it the butter? Maybe a little of both…

If you love the flavor of lemons, you will love these sweet treats that will melt in your mouth and make your eyes roll. The perfect combination of a light buttery crust topped with fresh lemon curd and finished with a gentle sprinkle of powdered sugar.

I usually cut them into bite size guilt free squares so you can just pop them in your mouth. The best part about cutting them smaller is that it takes four of those delicious bites to equal a whole piece.

I assemble my crust using the pie crust method of cutting the cold butter into the flour to achieve a lightly crisp crust. I do it the old fashioned way with a pastry cutter. If you have a food processor it can be done with just a few hits on the pulse button in a couple of minutes.

I make my filling a little on the tart side to bring out the freshness of the lemons. It’s important to blend the flour, sugar and baking powder with the lemon juice to dissolve the dry ingredients completely. Then when you add the eggs it all comes together quickly without any lumps. It is also important to time the assembly of the filling with the crust. If you make the filling too early you will lose the poof-ing action from the baking powder. Also the filling should be poured over the hot crust and returned to the oven. Rather than allowing the crust to cool down.

2 cups flour
½ cup powder sugar
1 cup cold butter (2 sticks)

4 large eggs
2/3 cup lemon juice (3 -4 lemons)
1 1/3 cup sugar
4 Tbsp. flour
1 tsp. baking powder
zest from the lemons (optional)

TO MAKE THE CRUST: Combine the flour and sugar and mix. Cut the butter into small pieces and add to the flour mixture. Cut butter into the flour mixture with a pastry cutter as if making a pie crust until the mixture is crumbly. Place the loose mixture into a 9 X 13 pan and spread out evenly. With the bottom of a glass press the crumb mixture into the pan. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 20 – 25 minutes or until the crust is golden brown.

TO MAKE THE FILLING: Time the filling so you will have it ready at the same time your crust comes out of the oven so that the baking powder wont loose its poof-ing action.
Place the flour, baking powder and sugar in a mixing bowl and whisk to blend. Add the lemon juice and zest; mix well. Lightly scramble the eggs and add it to the mix.

Pour over hot baked crust and bake for another 20 – 25 minutes.

Cool for about 10 minutes and cut into squares while still warm. Sprinkle with powdered sugar.

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