|The closest thing to a sun I've seen in days!|
It's March and while for us here in the Southern US that doesn't mean the last dregs of snow it does mean days and days of rain and grey. I'm finding that I'm missing summer and color and warmth right about now and my taste buds are craving citrus!
While I can't raise the temperature or make the flowers bloom I CAN do something about the citrus cravings. And then when I saw gorgeous Meyer lemons at the grocery store the other day I just knew what I had to do. Make lemon bars!
It took a couple of tries. I had a cookbook from the library that promised to be proven best recipes. And lo and behold there was a recipe for Lemon Bars! So I set about making them looking forward to a little taste of summer on a cold and rainy day. But the whole time I was making it something didn't quite feel right. The dough for the crust felt to thin and the lemon part felt too thick and there wasn't nearly enough. But I persevered. These recipes were proven! I had heard of the people who had put out the cookbook. Surely my instincts were wrong.
I was not wrong. The flavor was really good but the texture was a bit like fruit leather and the whole bar was maybe 1/4 of inch thick. Not exactly the luscious bite of bright lemon I was going for.
But I still had a basket of Meyer lemons left and the desire for lemon bars. I went to my trusty stack of cookbooks to see what I could find and Francine Bryson came to the rescue.
The point is that inside Francine's cookbook Blue Ribbon Baking from a Redneck Kitchen is a recipe for lemon bars that are pretty much exactly what I want lemon bars to be. They're soft and luscious without being too gooey and are just bursting with lemon flavor. And they're easy! I didn't have to pull out my mixer. All I needed was a whisk, a pastry blender (or a fork), and a zester.
Classic Southern Lemon Bars
1/2 cup butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
4 large eggs
1 1/3 cup sugar
1 cup strained lemon juice
Preheat the oven to 350 F. Line a 9" square pan with parchment paper and then grease with butter (I used cooking spray and it worked fine).
Make the crust: using an electric mixer, combine the flour, granulated sugar, salt and lemon zest. (I just used a whisk) Cut 1/2 cup butter into chunks and add to bowl. Blend on low speed until the mixture forms coarse, sandy crumbs. (I just used my pastry blender but a fork would work too).
Pour into the pan and press the mixture down into an even layer. Bake until just lightly browned around the edges, 16 to 19 minutes.
While the crust is baking, prepare the filling. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, sugar, and lemon juice.
Pour the filling into the baked crust while the crust is still hot. Bake until the filling is set and doesn't jiggle when the pan is gently shaken, about 20 minutes.
Let cool completely on a wire rack before dusting with confectioner's sugar and slicing into bars. Stor in an airtight container.
So if you're craving a little sunshine I highly recommend you give these a try! But only when you have people to share them with because I may or may not have eaten half the pan myself!
I'm linking up with Weekend Cooking hosted by Beth Fish Reads