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Week 3: Lemon Bars

There’s a lemon tree at my Grandparent’s house (which is now my Mom and Uncle’s house). Growing up we also had a plum tree and an apricot tree. The lemon tree is the only one that has lasted through the years and it produces tons of yummy yellow fruit. Leia heads straight for the backyard to pick them when we visit. Then she eats a slice or two, which I realize is probably horrible for her tooth enamel. But she comes from a family of lemon eaters – sometimes I peel and eat them like an orange.

My Mom’s birthday is Sunday and I’m in charge of dessert. I had this big bright bowl of lemons, so I went to one of my favorite blogs, Smitten Kitchen, and put my own spin on this recipe for Lemon Bars.

I made the version for thinner bars because I only had 4 eggs. After cooking the crust I realized I could have made it in my 8×8 pan to make a thicker bar.

Crust:

  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar (her recipe calls for granulated sugar but I was running low on that too!)
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup finely diced walnuts (they looked so lonely in the pantry, I needed to incorporate them)
  • pinch of salt

Filling:

  • 4 eggs at room temperature
  • 1 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 2/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (I used 4 lemons)
  • the zest from those lemons
  • 2/3 cup flour

Preheat the oven to 350°F and place a large sheet of parchment paper in a 9×13 pan. I prefer parchment to nonstick spray.

Baked crust

 

I put together my crust a little differently. I sifted the powdered sugar, flour and salt together. Then I cut in the softened butter with a pastry blender under it was coarse and lumpy. Press onto the bottom of the pan – it had to be spread pretty thin, so I definitely think this would work better in an 8×8 pan. Sprinkle with walnuts. Bake for 20 minutes, or until crust is very lightly browned.

 

I press a tablespoon upside in the lemon to juice it

 

For the filling whisk together the eggs, sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice, and flour. Pour over the crust and bake for 25 minutes (longer if you’re making more filling). You want to cook it a little past just firming up. Let cool to room temperature, dust with powdered sugar, then place in the refrigerator to chill.

Ignore the nails. Only pay slight attention to how awesome the new iPhone can get a close up. Now, really look at that delicious filling! Crust could be thicker, but this recipe was a winner!

I could have pressed the walnuts into the crust or mixed them in with the mix. When I added the filling the walnuts sort of floated up and into the batter. Not a deal breaker, but something I would do different next time. There will definitely be a next time!

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