I love lemons. I’ve been known to pick up lemon wedges and just eat them like an orange. They are just so deliciously tart, and I have an unnatural love of all things sour. So when Deb at Smitten Kitchen posted Ina Garten’s lemon bar recipe and mentioned that it was pretty intense I knew it was the lemon bar recipe for me, but then it sat in my recipe file, uncooked and lonely for ages.
I finally made these as just one of the many citrus -based desserts at my sister’s baby shower. I’m not the only lemon lover in my family, and I think tart desserts just work better during stinky hot weather than rich chocolate – so I loaded the table down with lots of sunshine in citrus form.
I stuck with the original filling to crust ratio rather than the reduction Deb recommended, and while I see her point, I love the lemon filling way too much to reduce it. And I think I made the right choice because these were great. Intensely lemony filling, not too sweet and a nice crust that was sturdy enough for easy eating while still being tender. They were a little hard to manage neatly with the mountain of lemony filling, but nobody at the party seemed to mind.
My crust did come out a pretty dark (though not burnt), but I don’t think the filling was overcooked. Perhaps a different pan is needed? I used in a clear Pyrex pan since my metal 9×13 has seen better days, but I’ll have to try my metal pan eventually to see if that makes a difference. The other possibility being that my tiny, temperamental oven foiled me yet again. I’ll have to post a picture of my oven at some point…it’s a 10 year old, apartment-sized oven in a 4 bedroom house. Ridiculous.
- 1/2 pound unsalted butter, softened
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 2 cups flour
- 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
- 6 extra-large eggs at room temperature
- 2 1/2 cups sugar
- 2 tablespoons grated lemon zest (4 to 6 lemons)
- 1 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 cup flour
Powdered sugar, for dusting
Preheat the oven to 350 F and grease a 9×13 pan (optionally – line with parchment paper with the ends left hanging out and then spray the parchment with nonstick spray. I did it this way because I need all the help I can get cutting bar type desserts neatly. The parchment serves as a handy sling to remove the bars from the pan.)
Crust: Cream the butter and sugar till light and fluffy. Add the flour and salt to the butter while mixing on low. Mix till just combined. Dump the dough out and gather into a ball with your hands. Place the ball in your baking pan and press into the bottom and 1/2″ up the sides. Fridge it till chilly while you juice and zest all those lemons.
Bake for 15-20 minutes till lightly golden-brown and then let it cool on a wire rack (and don’t bother turning off the oven) while you mix up the filling.
Filling: Whisk everything together and pour over pre-baked crust.
Bake for 30-35 minutes (or less maybe? Just keep an eye on them so you don’t end up with my dark crusts) You want the filling to be totally set.
Let cool completely, cut into triangles or squares or whatever shape suits your fancy and dust with powdered sugar.
(if you need to make ahead these will keep nicely in the fridge uncut for at least 1.5 days and possibly longer.)