These bars are worth the extra time and trouble. The cream smoothes the tart edge of the lemon curd and straining it makes for a silky texture. I usually use more lemon zest than called for. I find that the crust can easily overbake around the edges, so watch out. Could be my finicky oven too. They are tasty out of the freezer with one observation – the crust goes soft (but not soggy). To do that, cool completely, wrap in plastic, then wrap again in foil. To defrost, remove from freezer, let sit wrapped until at room temperature and voila. Continued thanks to America’s Test Kitchen for making the old classics that much better. This has been a crowd pleaser at the end of a meal.
1¼ cups (175 g) flour
½ cup Confectioners (63 g) sugar
½ tsp salt
12 tbsp (169 g) butter, cut into 12 pieces and softened
7 egg yolks, large
2 eggs, large and whole
1 cup and 2 tbsp (225 g) granulated sugar
⅔ cup (165 ml) lemon juice (fresh)
¼ cup (60 ml) lemon zest (grated) (I sometimes use more for more flavor)
3 tbsp (45) heavy cream
How to make it
- Adjust oven rack to middle position and preheat to 350. Line a 9″ square baking pan with two pieces of aluminum foil at right angles (to form a sort of sling). Lightly coat foil with vegetable oil.
- Mix together flour, confectioners sugar and salt. Using a pastry cutter (or food processor) incorporate 8 tbsp. of the butter until the mixture is pale yellow and resembles coarse cornmeal.
Sprinkle the mixture into the prepared pan and press firmly into an even layer. Bake until the crust starts to brown slightly, about 20 minutes.
- While crust is baking, whisk together egg yolks and whole eggs in a medium non-reactive saucepan.
- Whisk in granulated sugar until combined, then whisk in lemon juice, lemon zest, and a pinch of salt.
- Add remaining 4 tbsp of butter and cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly until the mixture thickens slightly and registers 170 degrees (F) on an instant-read thermometer, about 5 minutes.
- Strain the mixture immediately into a non-reactive bowl and stir in cream. Pour the warm curd over the hot crust. Bake until the filing is shiny and opaque and the center jiggles slightly when shaken, 10 to 15 minutes.
- Let cool completely on a wire rack, about 2 hours, before removing from the pan using foil and cutting into squares.
- Dust with confectioners sugar just before serving.
Note: it is important to pour the warm curd over the hot crust when making these intensely flavored bars. This ensures that the filling cooks through evenly. You will need about four lemons for zest and juice.
Source: America’s Test Kitchen via http://www.grouprecipes.com/20826/lemon-bars.html