I’m blaming the creation of these Lemon Bars on my mother, Neeners, who is 87 but don’t tell her I told you. I arrived at her house the one day to pick up a watch I needed to borrow. She looked up and said “You’ve come empty handed. Where is my treat?” Since I often spied bakery lemon bars lurking in her kitchen, I hoped this would do the trick. These Lemon Bars have a crisp shortbread crust and creamy, tart lemon topping. She got a few. I ate the rest. Oh, I later found out she took some to a restaurant and used them to tip the waitress. Luckily they are easy to make since she appears to be using them for currency. Here’s another recipe that can be made from start to finish in a food processor. If you don’t have one, doing it the old fashioned way is nearly as easy.We’ll get that crust going and in the oven right off the bat. Use a food processor or a pastry blender and just cut the butter into the flour, confectioners’ sugar, and salt. Then press it down, making sure you cover every square inch of that pan. I like to push the down as far on the sides as it will go to give you a nice, firm crust line.
Into the oven at 350 for about half an hour for this large sized pan. If you choose the smaller pan options (see recipe), it probably won’t take quite as long, but I’d err on the side of a little over done than under done. I’m saying this because my first effort was underdone and tasted doughy which is not desirable but did not stop me from eating them. The crust should be a nice, light tan color when it’s done, and light brown around the edges of the pan, but you can see below that it’s still a light cream color all the way through.
While your crust is baking you can get moving with the topping. The first order of business is zesting the lemons. For this I use a microplane grater. After testing comes juicing. If you don’t have enough juice from the lemons you’ve zested and aren’t in the mood to juice any more, it’s perfectly acceptable to use a bottled lemon juice. No, not the stuff in the bottles shaped like a lemon – that is imposter lemon juice. You can find good, organic bottled pure juices in the natural foods section of your grocery store, and you can also usually find frozen pure lemon juice also. Your choice. Juice, zest, eggs, sugar and flour get blended together… This is getting good.
As soon as that crust comes out of the oven, pour on the filling and pop the whole works back into the oven…then bake until just firm. This will take between 20-30 minutes. Give the pan a good jiggle in the oven – There shouldn’t be any extra shimmy in the center. But as soon as everything is set, yank that pan out of the oven! You will be rewarded by a super creamy interior that is not over baked. If, for some reason, this does not happen and your bars over bake just a tad bit, no worries. they will still be delicious.
Dress them up if you want by arranging on a platter with some lemon zest, lemon slices and a flower or two. Sprinkle with powdered sugar right before diving in. Or…feel free to eat them right out of the pan like I do.
Enough chatter. Let’s eat!
Hope you enjoy!! xoxoxo
- FOR THE CRUST
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- ½ cup confectioners’ sugar
- ½ tsp. salt
- 1 cup (2 sticks) butter
- FOR THE TOPPING
- 8 large eggs
- 2 ½ cups granulated sugar
- 1 cup lemon juice
- ½ cup all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 4 tablespoons grated lemon zest
- Butter (or spray with kitchen spray) a 10x15 inch-baking pan. (Or, if cutting the recipe in half, prepare one 9x9 inch or 8x8 inch pan.
- For the crust: combine the flour, confectioners’ sugar, and salt in a large bowl or food processor. Pulse or cut in the butter until fine crumbs are formed.
- Press the crust mixture firmly into the prepared pan. Bake for about 30 minutes, or until firm to the touch and slightly browned.
- While the crust is baking, prepare the topping: Mix together the sugar, flour, salt, and lemon zest. Add the eggs and lemon juice. Beat until smooth.
- Pour topping mixture onto the hot crust as soon as it comes out of the oven, return to the oven and continue baking for between 20-30 minutes, or just until the topping is firm (which means it will not jiggle when shaken).
- Remove from oven and allow to cool.
- Sprinkle with confectioner’s sugar right before serving, if desired. If you sprinkle ahead of time, the sugar will disappear into the topping so it’s best to wait. Dive in headfirst.