Saturday, April 09, 2011

Lemonicious feast

Lemon bars

Ok, so lemonicious is not a word. Big deal!

It's the only word that comes to mind when explosions of lemon occured in my mouth from one bite of these lemon bars.

I had been craving lemon curd slices for a while. Whilst I'm usually satisfied by a slice of lemon tart, I'd been hunting around for a slice recipe for sometime now because sometimes, I just want it satisfied in the shortest amount of time possible - like 1 hour instead of 12+ hours (which incidentally is how long it takes to make my favourite Lemon Tart by Pierre Hermé)

Incidentally, I found this recipe when reading through my feed a few weeks ago and it ticked the box for:
  • shortcrust pastry
  • lemon curd filling
  • simplicity in ingredients
  • baked in under 1hr
Starred! on Google Reader for another day..

The "other day" arrived last Sunday using the 2 lemons that C brought back from work - gifted from a colleague's backyard tree.

I immediately thought of David's recipe though when I re-read the recipe, I realised that the recipe called for 1 whole organic lemon that would be pulverised along with other filing ingredients and forms part of the curd.

When I saw that, I hesitated... I wasn't so sure about the whole lemon thing. I had no idea whether the lemon I was using was 'organic' or not. Given the lack of history and the fact that what I had to work with was still rock hard, I had no choice but to improvise. So I zested the lemon and removed the pith, using the lemon segments and zest as a substitute instead.

All I can say after all that is that David Lebovitz sure doesn't disappoint when he claimed that these were good.

Once you start, you just can't stop! 

Head over to David's to see how he came up with these delicious bars.

Lemon Bars
by David LeBovitz

Lemons vary in size David used lemons weighing around 175g (6oz). 

1 cup (140g) flour
1/4 cup (50g) sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons (115g) melted unsalted butter
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Lemon Curd Topping
1 lemon, organic or unsprayed
1 cup (200g) sugar
3 tablespoons (45ml) freshly squeezed lemon juice
3 large eggs, room temperature
4 teaspoons corn starch
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons (45g) melted unsalted butter

Optional: icing sugar, for serving

  1. Preheat the oven to 180ºC (350ºF).
  2. Overturn an 8-inch square pan on the counter and wrap the outside snugly with foil, shiny side up. Remove the foil, turn the pan over, and fit the foil into the pan, pressing to nudge the foil into the corners. The smooth it as best you can.
  3. In a medium bowl, mix the flour, sugar, salt, melted butter, and vanilla, stirring just until smooth.
  4. Smooth the batter into the bottom of the pan, using your hands or a small offset spatula to get it as level as possible.
  5. Bake the crust for 25 minutes, or until it’s deep-golden brown.
  6. While the crust is cooking, cut the lemon in half, remove the seeds, and cut the lemon into chunks.
  7. Put the chunks of lemon in a food processor or blender along with the sugar and lemon juice, and let it run until the lemon is completely broken up. Add the eggs, corn starch, 1/4 teaspoon of salt, and 3 tablespoons (45g) melted butter, and blend until almost smooth. (A few tiny bits of lemon pieces are normal and encouraged.)
  8. When the crust comes out of the oven, reduce the heat of the oven to 150º (300ºF) . Pour the lemon filling over the hot crust and bake for 25 minutes or just until the filling stops jiggling and is barely set.**
  9. Remove from the oven and let cool completely. Once cool, carefully lift out the bars grasping the foil. Cut the bars into squares or rectangles. Sift powdered sugar over the top just before serving, if desired.

It might be worth pouring the lemon filling through a sift as I ended up with a lot of bubbles on my curd after it's been cooked. Alternately, you could tap the tray or poke the bubbles so that the end result is a little more pleasing.. ;)

The bars will keep in an airtight container at room temperature up to three days. You can freeze the lemon bars as well for up to one month, letting them come to room temperature before serving.