Saturday, February 26, 2011

Meyer Lemon Bars

I wish I had a better photo of these for you but they disappeared faster than I could snap the photo.

This week, Mary at The Food Librarian declared this lemon week, which I discovered when I checked in with my Twitter buddies. I made these earlier in the week but it was a hectic week at work and I couldn't get this post written.

My very favorite lemon bar recipe is from Cook's Illustrated, which I usually make with Meyer lemons from a friend's tree. Meyer lemons, with their floral fragrance and sweet/tart flavor, make great lemon bars. Lemon bars are not that hard to make, but the crust is critical. It needs to be firm enough to support the lemon curd and hold together when you take a bite but tender enough to eat without breaking a tooth. These lemon bars will make you realize that the ones you buy at your local coffee shop are not the real deal.

Meyer Lemon Bars - adapted from Cook's Illustrated by way of Leite's Culinaria
Printer friendly recipe
For the crust:
2 1/2 cups/350 grams all-purpose flour
1 cup/120 grams powdered sugar
1 teaspoon salt
16 tablespoons (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch pieces

For the lemon filling:
14 large egg yolks, plus 4 large eggs
2 cups plus 4 tablespoons/425 grams granulated sugar
1 1/3 cups lemon juice from 8-9 Meyer lemons, plus 1/2 cup finely grated zest
Pinch of salt
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces
6 tablespoons/95 grams heavy cream

Powdered sugar, optional

Make the crust:
Spray a 9x13" baking pan with cooking spray. Create a sling with parchment paper  or foil and fit in pan. Spray the sheets with nonstick cooking spray and set aside.

Put the flour, powdered sugar, and salt in a food processor and pulse a few times. Add the butter and pulse 8 to 10 times, then process until the mixture is pale yellow and resembles coarse meal, about three 1-second pulses. Dump the mixture into the prepared pan and press firmly with your fingers into an even layer in the pan. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Adjust oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 350°F. Bake the crust until golden brown, about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the filling:

Fit a strainer into a nonreactive mixing bowl or 4 cup measuring cup and set aside.

In a medium non-reactive bowl, whisk together the yolks and whole eggs until combined. Rub the lemon zest into the sugar, which brings out more lemon flavor, then add to the eggs and whisk until just combined. Add the lemon juice and salt; whisk until combined. Transfer the mixture to a medium non-reactive saucepan, add the butter pieces, and cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon or heatproof spatula until the curd thickens slightly and registers 170°F on an instant-read thermometer, about 5 minutes. Immediately pour the curd through the strainer into the measuring cup or bowl. Stir in the heavy cream; pour the curd into the warm crust immediately.

Bake until the filling is shiny and opaque and the center 3 inches jiggle slightly when shaken, 10 to 15 minutes. Cool to room temperature on a wire rack. Remove the bars from the pan using the sling and transfer to a cutting board. Cut into squares and dust with powdered sugar, if desired.


Anonymous said...

Wow, these look great! I'm so jealous that you can get Meyer lemons from your friend! Has Kayte shown up at your house to try these yet?

spike. said...

lemon week sounds great (bet it tastes great too)

Joy said...

What a gorgeous color! They look so rich! And I'm very impressed that you line your pans :)

Di said...

I love lemon bars, and I bet these are terrific. I'm kind of afraid to make them, though, because egg whites are already taking over my freezer. =) (that's a lot of yolks!)

cocoa and coconut said...

I can imagine why these went quickly! Lemon bars are always addictive.

The Food Librarian said...

Just lovely! Such a wonderful color of yellow! - mary

Unknown said...

The color is SO vibrant Leslie - those look amazing! I don't think I've tried the CI recipe yet but the huge bowl of lemons on my counter just might find their way into this recipe soon :)

Anonymous said...

Yum! I haven't tried Meyer lemons, but I know I'd love them. I was just as the "fancy" grocery store today but didn't think of looking for them.

margot said...

I love lemon bars, these look wonderful!

Nancy/n.o.e said...

As much as I love chocolate, there's nothing quite like a great lemon bar! Glad to know a good recipe for these. And I'm envious of your Meyer lemon supply.