One for the lemon bar fans

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - FOOD - By Katie Work­man

There are cer­tain baked goods that elicit a fierce loy­alty among fans. They bring out strong feel­ings about how they should be pre­pared (of­ten the same way they were pre­pared in said fans’ child­hoods). And some­one else’s fail­ure to ap­pre­ci­ate them can be met with shock and con­fu­sion.

Lemon tarts, or lemon bars as they are also known, are such a baked good.

Peo­ple who love them, love them. I once spent a long time mak­ing my grand­fa­ther a choco­late cake from a fa­mous recipe, and after he fin­ished his slice, he said to me, “You know what I like?”

“What?” I said (ex­pect­ing a com­pli­ment on the rich fill­ing, the moist cake, some­thing like that). “Lemon,” he said wist­fully. The fill­ing in these squares, or bars, is a bit tart — I don’t see the point of too-sweet lemon squares — but not con­fronta­tional. Adding a cou­ple ta­ble­spoons of heavy cream of­fers a silkier tex­ture to the fill­ing, and a smoother cit­rus ex­pe­ri­ence. Some­times lemon zest is added to the fill­ing, and while I love the ex­tra burst of cit­rus, I’m more in love with a su­per smooth fill­ing, so I skip it. But you can add a tea­spoon or so of zest if you like.

If you want to gild the lily, serve these with some sweet­ened whipped cream on the side.

These lemon squares can be stored at room tem­per­a­ture for a day or in the re­frig­er­a­tor for sev­eral days, in a tightly cov­ered con­tainer with a piece of wax or parch­ment pa­per be­tween each layer. Don’t dust them with con­fec­tion­ers’ su­gar un­til just be­fore serv­ing.


Serv­ings: Makes 15 large squares


Crust 1 1/2 cups all-pur­pose flour 1/2 cup gran­u­lated su­gar 1/2 tea­spoon kosher or coarse salt

3/4 cup plus 2 ta­ble­spoons (1 3/4 sticks) cold un­salted but­ter, cut into small pieces Fill­ing 5 large eggs 2 1/2 cups gran­u­lated su­gar 1 cup fresh lemon juice 2 ta­ble­spoons heavy cream 3/4 cup all-pur­pose flour 1/4 cup con­fec­tion­ers’ su­gar for dust­ing


Pre­heat the oven to 325 F. But­ter a 9-by-13-inch pan or spray it with non­stick cook­ing spray, and line the bot­tom with a piece of parch­ment pa­per cut to fit cleanly on the bot­tom of the pan but hang over the two long sides (you will use this to lift out the squares once they are baked and cooled).

In a food pro­ces­sor, com­bine the flour, con­fec­tion­ers’ su­gar and salt. Add the but­ter and pulse un­til the mix­ture re­sem­bles coarse corn­meal (or you can cut the but­ter into the flour mix­ture in a bowl us­ing two knives, a pas­try cut­ter or your fin­gers). Trans­fer the mix­ture to the pan and press it evenly into the bot­tom. Bake 15 to 18 min­utes un­til golden and a bit firm to the touch.

Mean­while, in a medium bowl, com­bine the eggs and gran­u­lated su­gar, and whisk or beat with an elec­tric mixer un­til smooth. Beat in the lemon juice and cream, and then beat in the flour, un­til very smooth. When the crust is golden and set, pour in the fill­ing, re­turn the pan to the oven and bake for 25 to 35 min­utes, un­til it doesn’t jig­gle at all when you gen­tly shake the pan. Let cool com­pletely on a wire rack to room tem­per­a­ture.

Run a knife around the edge of the pan, and cut the bars into 15 (or more) squares. Re­move the bars with a spat­ula, or care­fully use the over­hang­ing edges of the parch­ment to smoothly lift out the lemon bars.

Place the 1/4 cup con­fec­tion­ers’ su­gar into a small sieve and dust it over the lemon bars just be­fore serv­ing.

Nu­tri­tion in­for­ma­tion per serv­ing: 361 calo­ries; 117 calo­ries from fat; 13 g fat (8 g sat­u­rated; 1 g trans fats); 103 mg choles­terol; 89 mg sodium; 58 g car­bo­hy­drate; 1 g fiber; 43 g su­gar; 4 g pro­tein.


This Au­gust 2016 photo shows lemon bars in New York. This dish is from a recipe by Katie Work­man.

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