I'm not sure what it is about lemon in desserts but everyone seems to love it. I certainly do and my niece for one just loves lemons. She's 9 years old now but since she was 4, she'll put slices of lemons between her teeth and suck on them. She still does it now and will ask for the lemons floating in our ice lemon tea whenever she has the chance.
So it was with lemons in mind that I decided to try a lemon bar recipe by Stephanie Jaworski. This recipe is a combination of a buttery shortcrust biscuit as the bottom layer and topped with a tangy lemony filing. The crust is pre-baked first to ensure that it stays crips and crumbly. After that the topping is poured on top and baked again. I can assure you that these are highly addicive treats and can be served either warm from the oven, at room temperature, or chilled.
(recipe from Joy of Baking)
Ingredients for the crust:
1/2 cup (1 stick) (113 grams) unsalted butter room temperature
1/4 cup (25 grams) confectioner's (powdered or icing) sugar
1 cup (140 grams) all purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
Ingredients for the filing:
1 cup (200 grams) granulated white sugar
2 large eggs
1/3 cup (80 ml) fresh lemon juice (approximately two large lemons)
1 tablespoons (5 grams) grated lemon zest (2 lemons)
2 tablespoons (25 grams) all purpose flour
Confectioner's (powdered or icing) sugar
Lemon Zest - The yellow outer rind of the lemon that contains the fruit's flavor and perfume.
TIP: Always remove the zest first before halving and squeezing the lemon. Use a fine strainer to remove the seeds and pulp from the juice.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (177 degrees C) and place rack in center of oven. Grease with butter (or use a cooking spray) a 8 x 8 inch (20 x 28 cm) pan.
In the bowl of your electric mixer, or with a hand mixer, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the flour and salt and beat until the dough just comes together. Press into the bottom of your greased pan and bake for about 20 minutes, or until lightly browned. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool while you make the filling.
In your electric mixer, or with a hand mixer, beat the sugar and eggs until nice and smooth. Add the lemon juice and zest and stir to combine. Fold in the flour. Pour the filling over the shortbread crust and bake for about 20 minutes, or until the filling is set. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool.
Cut into squares or triangles and dust with powdered sugar. These are best eaten the day they are made but can be covered and stored in the refrigerator for a day or two.
Yield: 16 - 2 inch (5 cm) squares