I fully intended to post this recipe in August. But it’s now September. So I’m bidding adieu to the warmest (and most humid) season with these bright and tart lemon bars.
The original recipe belongs to my mom, who requested more filling. Unlike me, she doesn’t tinker with recipes, so if something needs an update, mom knows who to call. (Me, not the Ghostbusters.)
Being both confident and a risk-taker, I brought my first ‘now with double the filling’ lemon bars to a Fourth of July picnic. “Who made these bars?” was uttered multiple times. Success.
With that I say goodbye summer, and hello autumn. (The crystal ball shows a glazed sweet potato Bundt cake in our near future. I promise that will be posted early in autumn, and not as a farewell fall post.)
Mom’s Lemon Bars, v. 2.0
For the crust:
- 1/2 pound (two sticks) unsalted butter, cold and cut into cubes
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 2 cups all-purpose flour, preferably unbleached
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
For the filling:
- 8 large eggs at room temperature
- 3 cups granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons grated lemon zest (4 to 6 lemons), optional
- 1 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1/2 to 2/3 cup all-purpose flour, preferably unbleached
- ¾ tsp baking powder
Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- For the crust, mix the flour, sugar and salt in a large bowl. Add the butter to the flour mixture. Using a food processor, pastry blender (I have this one from Pampered Chef) or two knives, cut the butter into the flour mixture until it resembles course sand. Press into a 9 x 13 by 2-inch baking sheet or glass pan, building up a 1/2-inch edge on all sides.
(If using a glass pan, reduce the oven temperature by 25 degrees for the crust-only baking and once the filling is added. Baking time remains about the same. You might want to check a minute or two earlier. Why? Science. Glass doesn’t heat quickly, but once a glass pan is hot, it retains heat much longer.)
- Chill crust in the refrigerator for 15 minutes. (You can skip this step if you’re running short on time.)
- Bake the crust for 15 to 18 minutes, until very lightly browned. Let cool on a wire rack. Leave the oven on.
- While the crust is cooling, make the filling. Whisk together the eggs, sugar, lemon juice and lemon zest, if using. Mix the flour and baking powder together, then add this to the egg mixture. Pour over the crust and bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until the filling is set. Let cool to room temperature.
- Cut into 24 or 36 squares and dust with confectioners’ sugar.
(The cooked lemon squares freeze well, that is, if you have any remaining.)
I can attest. These lemon bars are like a carnival wrapped inside a hug from god. Boffo!