It’s not like I have a ton of people who regularly read this blog. If I’m being generous I can say I have maybe 5 or 10 regular readers? So why do I feel so guilty for neglecting it? Probably because I had the best of intentions when I started it and I want to keep it going, I do. I’ve recently started a new job and I’m finding it hard to balance the job; which I love, for the record; my responsibilities and the things I enjoy doing. Like puttering in the kitchen and putting together this blog.
In all honesty, I can’t say that I have been doing very much elaborate cooking. And baking, my one true love, has fallen by the wayside as I spend so much of the day doing it at work. That’s not to say that I haven’t done any baking…it is strawberry season after all. You must know that there have been strawberry shortcakes…along with strawberry cocktails, strawberry muffins and strawberries simply stuffed into hungry mouths with abandon.
It’s been a surprisingly rainy and dreary June, though and when it’s this dreary and depressing I want to be comforted. I need to be reminded that despite the heavy wetness and gray skies, summer really is around the corner. Sunshine really will come again. And nothing evokes sunshine more than these lemon bars.
I am very particular about my lemon bars. I like a tender, yet substantial crust topped with a bright, tartly assertive lemon curd. I don’t want my crust and curd to blend together. I want them to complement and set each other off. These are my gold standard for lemon bars and in the spirit of enticing my three readers to continue reading my blog, I’d like to share them with you. I hope you love them as much as I do and if you do try them, I’d love to hear about it.
9 inch square baking pan, lined with foil and sprayed with cooking spray or buttered generously.
1 1/2 cups white wheat flour
1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) plus 2 TBS. cold butter, salted is fine
In the bowl of a food processor add flour, confectioners’ sugar and salt. Pulse briefly to combine.
Chop cold butter into 1/2 inch pieces and pulse to combine with dry ingredients.
Pour out into prepared baking dish and press evenly with your fingers.
Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.
While the crust is baking, prepare your filling.
5 large egg yolks, plus 3 large eggs
1 cup granulated sugar
2/3 cup lemon juice plus all of the zest from 4-5 lemons
4 TBS butter
pinch of salt
3 TBS heavy cream
Wash lemons in hot water with a little soap, or better yet, use organic lemons ( I rarely have them on hand because we use too many lemons!)
Zest all of the lemons with a fine microplane zester
Squeeze the lemons right on top of the zest until you get 2/3 cup of lemon juice
In a saucepan, whisk the eggs, lemon juice, zest and sugar with a pinch of salt.
Cut the butter into 4 pieces and add it to the egg mixture and set the pan over medium to medium-high heat.
Whisking constantly, bring the egg mixture almost to the boil but don’t let it boil. If it seems like it’s going to boil, lower the heat and whisk furiously. It shouldn’t take more than five minutes for the mixture to thicken. When it does, remove it from the heat and stir in the heavy cream. Pour through a fine meshed strainer right on top of the hot crust using a spoon to press it through. Bake for an additional 10 minutes until firm with a slightly jiggly center. The curd will completely firm up upon cooling. I like to let these set up over night. I usually just pop the whole pan, uncovered in the microwave. The refrigerator causes too much condensation to form. The next day, lift them from the pan by the foil, cut into desired shapes and sprinkle with powdered sugar.