Friday, July 5, 2013

Classic Lemon Bars

1/2 cup plus 3 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch pieces, plus more for pan
1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1 1/2 teaspoons salt

2 cups granulated sugar
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
3 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons plus 3/4 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon milk
1/4 teaspoon coarse salt

To make crust: In the bowl of a food processor, combine all the dry crust ingredients. Process briefly until they're mixed.  Add butter to processor and process until mixture resembles a coarse meal, about 10 seconds. If you don't have a food processor, whisk together flour, confectioners' sugar, cornstarch, and salt in a large bowl. Add butter and work into flour mixture using a pastry blender or your fingers.

Pour crust mixture into sprayed (or buttered) cake pan, pressing down with your fingers to create a 1/4-inch-thick layer along the bottom and 1/2-inch up the sides, pressing firmly at the edges to seal. Transfer pan to freezer and freeze for 30 minutes. Transfer to 350 degree oven and bake, rotating pan once during baking, until golden brown, about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the topping: In a large bowl, whisk together sugar, eggs, and flour; stir in lemon juice, milk, and salt until well combined.

Remove baking pan from oven. Stir topping and pour into warm crust. Return pan to oven and continue baking until topping is just set but not browned, about 20 minutes.

  • Original source here.  
  • It's rare to find a recipe from a professional source, yet so poorly written.   The filling and crust ingredients are randomly jumbled together and there is no effort made to differentiate which measurement of salt and flour goes with which part of the recipe.  I divided it into what I did above and it worked, for what it's worth.
  • Also, the original recipe starts with having you turn on the oven and then tells you to mix the crust and put it in the freezer for 30 minutes.  It takes my oven about 5 minutes to pre-heat, so I also adjusted that direction as well.
  • The crust calls for 1 1/2 tsp. of salt which is definitely on the high side.  It does make kind of an interesting combination with the sour topping, but feel free to divide that amount in half if you don't think you'd like that.  Really, it would be good either way.
  • Despite the writing, the bars are delicious and the crust has a nice shortbread quality that is still firm the next day.

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