Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Lemon Bars

I don't like to brag, but I'm a pretty good baker. Ok....fine....I'm an excellent baker!  Not everything I bake is perfect but I tend to be pretty successful more times than not.  I say all of this because I think you should know......lemon bars do not like me!

I absolutely LOVE lemon bars!  I especially love them when they are on the tart side and when the lemony custard is still creamy while the shortbread crust is flaky.  

Lemon bars are the perfect thing to make when your friends bring over bags of lemons from their trees.  They are yummy and pretty and classy and everyone loves them.  AND....everyone seems to be able to make them...except for me!

I'm sure I'm exaggerating a little too much, I mean....I've probably made them perfectly fine before.  But all I can remember is that the last three times I tried to make them, they didn't turn out.  One time, the crust wasn't done enough.  The next two times, I over baked the filling.  Everyone said they were good, but I wanted creamy perfection!

DONE!  This time, I tried Ina Garten's recipe.  Perfection!  I love that she pre bakes the crust a little bit before adding the filling.  Makes for a flakier crust.  Her recipe calls for a lot of sugar in the filling (3 cups) but I decreased it a bit (used 2 1/2 cups).  Feel free to modify the sugar in the custard to suit your taste.

This recipe is a keeper!  It probably helps that I watched that timer closely to make sure I didn't over bake them.  Success....look at that creamy custard!  I guess the lemon bars like me after all!  :)

Lemon Bars Via Ina Garten
makes 24 squares

For the crust:
1/2 pound butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 cups flour
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt

For the filling:
6 extra-large eggs at room temperature
3 cups granulated sugar
2 tablespoons grated lemon zest (4 to 6 lemons)
1 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 cup flour

Confectioners' sugar, for dusting

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

For the crust, cream the butter and sugar until light in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Combine the flour and salt and, with the mixer on low, add to the butter until just mixed. Dump the dough onto a well-floured board and gather into a ball. Flatten the dough with floured hands and press it into a 9 by 13 by 2-inch baking sheet, building up a 1/2-inch edge on all sides. Chill.

Bake the crust for 15 to 20 minutes, until very lightly browned. Let cool on a wire rack. Leave the oven on.

For the filling, whisk together the eggs, sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice, and flour. Pour over the crust and bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until the filling is set. Let cool to room temperature.

Cut into squares and dust with confectioners' sugar.

Recipe shared on:
Tumbleweed Contessa - What'd You Do This Weekend
Foodie Friends Friday
Esskunst Food Coaching - Cake Friday Coffee Klatch