Treat of the Week: Lemon Bars

We have been harvesting lemons for about a week now.  Our lemon trees produced far more lemons than we could possibly eat before going bad.  I do love having fresh lemons in the house.  These were particularly pretty.  Picking them from the tree versus the produce bin means they are plump and unbruised from being bounced around in a truck for days.  We have used them for tea, salad dressing, and, of course, the treat of the week.

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Today we turn out a pan of one of my favorites.  These lemon bars are delectable.  They are sweet and tart and creamy.  The shortbread crust would be perfect left as is, but we added a bit to the top, as well, in the form of crumble.  If you have not tried lemon bar before, now is your chance.  If you have and you love it, this is sure to become your favorite recipe.

savour… fresh from the garden

Get the rest after the jump…

Lemon Bars

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Before you start:

This crust is sticky.  Be sure to use a well floured surface (and hands) when forming your dough disk.

I used a piece of parchment and a smooth jar to press the dough into the pan.  You can use your hands.  A rolling pin will probably not fit inside the pan.

The butter and eggs for the filling should be at room temperature.  The butter for the crumble must be cold.

Be sure to allow the finished product to cool completely.  It is important for it to set up before you begin to cut the bars.

The ingredients:

Crust:

  • 2      sticks butter (1/2 pound) at room temperature
  • ½ cup      granulated sugar
  • 2      cups all purpose flour
  • 1/8      teaspoon salt

Filling:

  • 5      eggs at room temperature
  • 2 ¼      cups granulated sugar
  • 1 ½      tablespoon lemon zest (about 4 lemons)
  • ¾ cup      fresh lemon juice (about 4-5 medium)
  • ½ cup      all purpose flour
  • 1      teaspoon baking powder

For topping:

  • Scraps      from crust
  • About      ¼ cup flour
  • 1-2      tablespoons butter
  • 1      teaspoon sugar
  • Confectioners’      sugar for dusting
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The method:

For the crust:

    1. Cream      the butter and sugar together on medium low speed until light and fluffy.
    2. Whisk      flour and salt together in separate bowl.
    3. With      mixer on lowest speed, add dry mixture to the butter and sugar.
    4. Mix      only until flour is moistened.
    5. Turn      out onto a well-floured piece of parchment.
    6. Form      a rectangular disk with the dough.
    7. Transfer      the disk to a lightly greased 9x13 pan.
    8. Using      floured hands and/or the parchment paper press the dough out evenly to      cover the pan and up about ½ inch on the sides.  The dough should be about ¼ inch      thick.  I like to use a jar to roll      it out evenly under parchment.  Be      sure to work it into the corners.
    9. Dough      should go about ¾ inch up the side of the pan.  Cut off the excess in a straight line      with a sharp knife.  Reserve the      scraps.
    10. Place      tray in freezer for about 20 minutes.
    11. Preheat      oven to 350 degrees.
    12. Bake      crust in the oven for 15-20 minutes until very lightly browned.
    13. Remove      and allow to cool while you make the filling and crumb topping. 

For the filling:

    1. Place      all filling ingredients in mixing bowl and whisk until smooth and creamy.
    2. Pour      filling mixture into cooled crust.
    3. Bake      for 20 minutes. 

For the topping:

    1. While      baking, place crust scraps in a small bowl. 
    2. Add      flour and sugar.
    3. Cut      in enough cold butter in small pieces to make the mixture crumbly and      stick together when pressed.
    4. Remove      pan from oven after 20 minutes.
    5. Lightly      rolling the crumble together with your fingers, sprinkle it over the      surface evenly with some bigger pieces and some smaller pieces.
    6. Return      pan to oven and bake additional 7-12 minutes or until the filling is set.
    7. Remove      from the oven and allow to cool completely.
    8. Cut      into evenly sized bars and dust with confectioners’ sugar.
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