Friday, July 19, 2013

Whole Lemon Bars

I am still taking pictures of food, editing them, and working on blog posts. Unfortunately, then this all languishes in a folder on my computer and takes a very long time to make it to the Internet. My goal for the next month or so is to clear out this backlog (finally) and try to post a little more regularly. Because I like it and I like to share.

Blame mom brain. It's a real thing.

This is another fantastic recipe from The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook (have you checked it out yet? I've given you a lot of time). Less fussy than most lemon bar recipes, it is not in any way less delicious. Go impress your friends and make this now.

Whole Lemon Bars via The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook:

Makes 16 way too delicious squares

1 c. all purpose flour
1/3 c. sugar
¼ tsp. salt
8 Tb. unsalted butter, cut into chunks, plus extra for greasing pan

1 small-to-medium-sized lemon (about 4½ oz.)
1 1/3 c. sugar
8 Tb. unsalted butter, cut into chunks
4 large eggs
2 Tb. cornstarch
¼ tsp. salt

Place a rack in middle of oven and preheat to 350 degrees. Cut two 12-inch lengths of parchment paper, and trim each to fit the bottom of an 8-inch square baking pan. Pres the first sheet into the bottom and up the sides of your pan in one direction, then use the second sheet to line the rest of the pan, running it perpendicular to the first sheet. Lightly butter exposed parts of parchment or coat them with a nonstick cooking spray. Set the pan aside.

To make the crust, blend the flour, sugar, and salt together in the work bowl of a food processor. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture is powdery, but if firmly pinched, will hold the pinched shape. Turn the dough crumbs into the prepared baking pan and press the dough evenly across the bottom and about ½ inch up the sides. Prick the dough all over with a fork and bake for 20 minutes, or until lightly browned. Should any parts bubble up, gently prick them again with a fork. Leave the oven on.

To make the filling, cut the lemon in half. If the widest part of the white is ¼ inch thick or less, continue to the next step. If any part of it is thicker than ¼ inch, however, remove the skin and pith from half the lemon by placing the lemon cut-side-down on the cutting board, cut downward and discard it. The second half, even if just as thick, can be used as is.

Cut your lemon halves into thin rings and discard any seeds. Toss the lemon rounds, flesh and peel, in the bowl of the food processor, add the sugar, and run the machine until the lemon in thoroughly pureed, about 2 minutes. Add the butter and again run the machine until the mixture is smooth, scraping down the sides of the work bowl as needed. Add the eggs, cornstarch, and salt and pulse the machine in short bursts until the mixture is evenly combined.

Pour the lemon mixture over the crust and bake it for 35 to 40 minutes, or until the filling is set. You can test this by bumping the pan a little; it should only jiggle slightly. Look for the lemon bars to turn light brown.

Let the pan cool completely on rack or in the fridge. Gently cut around the outside of the parchment paper to make sure no sides have stuck, then gently use the parchment sling to transfer the bars from pan to cutting board. Cut into 16 squares.

Gooey. Lemony. So so good.

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