Nothing says spring than the scent and tartness of lemon. Although lemonade makes you think of a break from the hot summer days with swarms of mosquitoes, lemon bars are like a ray of sun breaking through the stormy clouds. Even though the gray clouds are still present and the temperatures continue to be cold, I'll take what I can get in the form of edibles.
I made these lemon bars for my brother, although I'm not sure he shares the same sentiments about it that I do. All I know is that he likes lemon bars to be tart with a burst of lemon flavor yet a bit of sweetness, and a crisp, light crust. That's why I chose the recipe for Lemon Squares from an April '04 issue of Everyday Food. Some recipes include milk in the filling, but I figured that would make it more like a creamy lemon pudding instead of an intense lemon curd-like filling. POM Wonderful sent me a case of POM juice that I haven't used yet, so I made a POM syrup and drizzled some on top and marbleized with a skewer before baking. It would have been better had the POM topping been thicker, like a thin jelly, because it pretty much just sank to the bottom and the definition wasn't as pronounced as I would have liked.
So these were a hit, and everyone liked the tartness since most you buy or heavy on the sweet side. The crust was a light, buttery, and crisp shortbread that had a sandy texture that I thought was a nice contrast to the filling. And lthough these pictures aren't very great, the end result was.
from Everyday Food, April 2004
Nonstick cooking spray
3/4 cup of flour
1/3 cup confectioners' sugar, plus 1 tablespoon for sifting
1/4 cup corn starch
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
4 large eggs
1 cup granulated sugar
2/3 cup fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
- Preheat oven to 350°, with rack in center. Coat a 9-inch square baking pan with cooking spray; line pan with two crisscrossed rectangles of parchment paper, leaving a 2-inch overhang on all sides.
- Make crust: In a food processor, pulse flour with confectioners' sugar, cornstarch, and salt. Add butter; pulse until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Press into bottom and 3/4 up sides of prepared pan. Refrigerate 15 minutes.
- Bake until crust is lightly browned, 20 minutes. Let cool slightly in pan. Reduce oven heat to 325°.
- Meanwhile, make filling: Whisk flour with baking powder and salt in a small bowl. In another medium-sized bowl, beat eggs with an electric mixer until thick. Beat in granulated sugar, lemon juice, and flour mixture. Pour over warm crust. Bake until set, about 20 minutes. Cool to room temperature; refrigerate about 1 hour.
- Using paper overhang as an aid, lift square from pan. Sift remaining tablespoon confectioners' sugar over top. Cut into 16 squares.