After all of the cookies with chocolate, butterscotch, toffee, and caramel goodness that I enjoyed during the holiday, I thought I would give my palette something bright and even spring-like… like these lemon bars. Yes, it is still freezing outside; but trust me… a bite of this lemony bar with smooth and delicate curd with buttery shortbread crust will transport you into spring. I followed the recipe exactly and made no substitutions; and they were perfect. I baked the crust for 19 minutes total, just until the edges were lightly browned. As far as the custard, I did a gentle shake test to ensure that it was set, and it looked done at 30 minutes.
The only issue that I had was that when I cut them into squares, the skin that formed on top of the custard broke and made a rather messy cut. I decided to refrigerate the entire pan for a few hours and went back to cut them into triangles, and they cut a lot better. Next time, I’d have to remember to do this. But there was nothing else that I would have done differently. They were lemony; with a little bit of tartness, and just enough sweetness.
Adapted from Barefoot Contessa Parties
1/2 pound unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 cups flour
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
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 mixeron 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 triangles and dust with confectioners’ sugar
Yield: 40 triangles, or 20 squares