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Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Classic Lemon Bars

Summer is winding down here in Central Florida.  Even though it is only early August and we still have quite a few months of hot summer weather left, school is about to start back up so it seems that time spent sitting by the poolside is pretty much at an end.  ...But one more tart, citrusy summer recipe couldn't hurt, though, right?  We made these Classic Lemon Bars recently and they have a wonderfully tart, tangy taste that just screams of summer.  These were delicious as is, but were even more amazing when served with freshly prepared whipped cream.  For my favorite vanilla whipped cream recipe, scroll down to the end of this post. 

Classic Lemon Bars, adapted from Food Network
Ingredients for the crust:
Oil for greasing the pan
1 1/2 stucks unsalted butter, diced
2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup confectioner's sugar, plus more for garnishing
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt

Ingredients for the filling:
4 large eggs plus 2 egg yolks, room temperature
2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup all purpose flour, sifted
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1 cup fresh lemon juice (from about 6 - 8 lemons)

To make the crust:
Preheat the oven to 350 F.  Grease a 9 x 13 pan with oil and line with parchment, leaving an overhang on the 2 long sides.  Lightly grease the parchment with oil.  
In a food processor, pulse butter, flour, both sugars and salt until the dough comes together, about 1 minute.  Press evenly into the pan and up the sides about 1/2 inch making sure there are no cracks.  Bake until lightly golden, about 20 - 25 minutes.

To make the filling:
While the crust is baking, prepare the filling. Whisk eggs, yolks, sugar, and flour in a bowl until smooth.  Whisk in lemon zest and guide.  Remove the crust from the oven and reduce oven temperature to 300 F.  Pour filling over the warm crust and put back in the oven.  Bake until just set, about 30 - 35 minutes.  

Allow the bars to cool in the pan on a rack, then refrigerate until firm for at least 2 hours.  Using a knife or spatula, trace around the outside of the bars to release them from the sides of the pan.  Lift the bars out of the pan with parchment and slice.  If desired, dust with confectioner's sugar prior to serving.  

Vanilla Whipped Cream:
1 cup cold heavy whipping cream
2 tsp mexican vanilla
1/8 C granulated sugar + additional, if desired

Beat all ingredients together, on high, until mixture reaches light and fluffy consistency. Add more sugar if desired to reach desired sweetness.


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