Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Lemon Bars from Gayle's Bakery

Category: Cookies and Bars
Difficulty Rating: Easy

Lemon Bars: luscious, tangy Lemon-Meringue Pie-ish filling with a buttery short-bread crust. Totally difficult to eat with your fingers but we manage to do it somehow! A few friends and I volunteered to help out at a wedding last year.The Father of the Groom made about 200 Lemon Bars for the dessert. I was, as the Brits say,'gob-smacked'!
Firemen can bake!

After trying two recipes that didn't work (their lemon filling turned out too liquid for my taste), I found this in Gayle's Bakery "The Village Baker's Wife" cookbook. Works like a charm. DO remember to follow the recipe exactly, tho. Do not over-process the crust--15 seconds is 15 seconds. Also do take them out of the oven when the filling is light brown, or at least with light brown 'pimples' on the top. It's important to bake the bars till they are done...



Ingredients:

Crust:
1 C 8 oz. cold butter
1/2 C powdered sugar
1/4 t. salt
2 C flour

Filling:
1/2 t baking powder
1/4 C flour
4 eggs
2 C sugar
1/4 C freshly squeezed and strained lemon juice (about 2 large lemons)
2 T grated lemon zest (after squeezing lemons, use them for grating just the yellow off--no white (it's bitter). You may need to use an additional lemon for this step.
Extra powdered sugar for dusting

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. To make with a food processor: Cut the butter into 1/2 inch pieces and return it to the refrigerator. In bowl of the food processor fitted with the metal blade, place the powdered sugar, salt and flour. Pulse until well blended. Add the chilled butter and toss with your hands to coat the pieces with flour. Process the mixture until it looks like a fine meal, about 15 seconds.

OR to make the crust by hand: cut the butter into 1/2 inch pieces and return to the refrigerator. In a bowl, combine the powdered sugar, salt and flour. Add the chilled butter and toss to coat it with flour. With a fork or pastry blender, cut in the butter until the mixture looks like a fine meal, about 15 seconds.

While the crust bakes, make the filling. Combine the baking powder and flour. In a separate bowl, beat the eggs with a hand-held whisk until they are well mixed. Add the sugar and beat until it is fully incorporated. Add the baking powder and flour in small amounts, beating after each addition. Whisk in the lemon juice and zest. Pour the filling over the hot crust and bake for 15-20 minutes, or until the filling has set and is golden brown. Let the bars cool in the pan on a wire rack. When completely cool, dust with powdered sugar and serve.

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