Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Barefoot Contessa Lemon Bars

"Cooking is like love, it should be entered into with abandon or not at all.”
Harriet Van Horne, Vogue 1956.

Happy Valentine's Day.

 I made these lemon bars and cut some of them out with a heart shaped cookie cutter. Served on a special plate for my valentine.

This is a recipe I have been making for over 10 years and it's very good. It comes from The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook Published in 1999. The recipe is on the Food Network website.

My friend Lindda always asks me to make them for her, I think she dreams about them. Since we don't live close to each other any longer she will have to make them at home. You can do it Lindda Lou!

This is a picture of Lindda!

You will Need:

For the crust:

  • 1/2 pound unsalted butter, at room temperature (2 sticks)
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt

For the filling:

  • 6 extra-large eggs at room temperature
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 2 tablespoons grated lemon zest  (4 to 6 lemons)
  • 1 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice 
  • 1 cup flour
  • Confectioners' sugar, for dusting (icing sugar)

Step 1: zest the lemons first, then juice them to get 1 cup lemon juice. I had some meyer lemons so I used 1/4 cup meyer lemon juice and the rest regular juice. Don't even think about using a bottled lemon juice here. Walk away from this recipe right now. Lemon is the star of the show so, you must use fresh. Meyer lemons are a cross between a mandarin orange and lemon and they are much sweeter than a regular lemon but, a lemon bar should be tart so you don't want to use too much meyer in this recipe.

Step 2: to make crust, cream room temperature butter and sugar until smooth.

Step 3: add flour and salt and mix until forms crumbly mixture that is starting to clump together. Put into bottom of glass baking dish (mine is 8x12) pressing on the bottom with your hands into forming a smooth crust. This is essentially a shortbread cookie crust and you don' t want to handle it too much but, it will press into shape.

Step 4: once pressed into place,chill to let butter get hard again. Once chilled (10 minutes in freezer) bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes until lightly browned. 

Step 5: prepare filling in a large bowl whisk eggs and sugar, then add lemon juice and zest and finally add flour whisking to make sure there are no lumps of flour.

Step 6: pour lemon filling over crust and bake for 30-35 minutes until filling is set. Don't bake too much longer or they will be rubbery instead of smooth and lucious.

Step 7: cool completely.Slice with a large knife that you run under hot  water, then dry. Make a slice, then run under water to clean knife and dry ensuring each slice is clean. If you want you can also make cut outs with a cookie cutter. Top with a sprinkle of icing sugar and enjoy this sweet, tart lemon explosion. It's a great contrast with the smooth buttery crust.


1 comment:

  1. I think I just had the best dessert ever…I say this every time I eat one. I can’t even describe it; you’ll just have to eat it yourself. I’ve had other versions and they don’t compare to this recipe!!