Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Creamy Lemon Bars Recipe

A lemon walks into a bar and the bartender asks, “Why the sour face?”

Unlike that tasteless joke, these lemon bars  are full of flavor. Creamy, refreshing, and not too tart, they’re a perfect summer dessert. They were a hit with my kids and I think yours will enjoy them, too.

I use bottled lemon juice for these bars out of convenience, but you can certainly use fresh lemon juice. Tossing some lemon zest in with the lemon juice will only improve the flavor. You’ll need 4 fresh lemons and 1/4 cup grated lemon zest.

Equipment needed
Measuring cups and spoons
9” x 9” baking pan
Aluminum foil
Mixing bowls
Instant-read thermometer
Fine-mesh strainer
Rubber spatula
Cooling racks
Chef’s knife


8 Tbl butter
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/2 tsp salt

Cooking spray

2/3 cup lemon juice
7 large egg yolks
2 large eggs
1 cup plus 2 Tbl granulated sugar
4 Tbl butter
3 Tbl heavy cream

Powdered sugar for dusting

Cut all of the butter into small pieces and place on a small plate or bowl to soften, about 30 to 60 minutes. Keep the butter for the crust separate from the butter for the filling to make it easier later on.

Place an oven rack in the middle position and preheat the oven to 350 °F.

Line the baking pan with two long sheets of aluminum foil, perpendicular to each other, with extra foil hanging over the side to make a foil “sling.” This will make it easier to remove, later. Make sure the foil is pushed into the corners and smooth against the sides and bottom of the pan. Coat the sides and bottom with cooking spray.

Making the Crust
In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, 1/2 cup powdered sugar and 1/2 tsp salt. Add 8 Tbl of the softened butter and mix with clean hands until the butter is incorporated and the mixture looks like course cornmeal. Sprinkle the mixture into the prepared pan and spread evenly across the bottom with your fingers. Put in the oven and bake for 20 minutes or until it just starts to brown.

Making the Filling
While the crust bakes, whisk together the egg yolks and whole eggs in a medium saucepan. Whisk in 1 cup plus 2 Tbl granulated sugar until well combined. Whisk in the lemon juice and lemon zest, if using, along with a pinch of salt. Add the rest of the butter and cook over medium low heat until slightly thickened and registering 170 °F on a thermometer, about 5 minutes.

Immediately pour the mixture through a strainer into a mixing bowl, pushing the liquid through with a rubber spatula. Stir in 3 Tbl heavy cream.

Remove the crust from the oven and pour the hot lemon filling over it. It’s important that both the crust and the filling be hot to prevent the crust from getting soggy and the lemon curd cooked properly.

Bake until the filling is shiny and jiggles only slightly when shaken, about 10 to 15 minutes.

Remove from the oven. Place the pan on a wire rack and let cool in the pan about 2 hours. Remove the lemon bars from the pan using the foil sling to gently lift them out onto a cutting board. Cut into 9 squares. Dust with additional powdered sugar before serving.

Makes 9 servings.

1 comment:

Bartonsark said...

sounds yummy I might even try cooking again.