Meyer Lemon Bars
I adore Lemon Bars! It makes me really happy when I see them offered at buffets or restaurants. The problem is, they're never very good. Well...good yes, but regretfully not worth the calories in hindsight. I'm usually disappointed by the weirdly gelatinous texture or bland crust, which is either thin and mushy or thick and dry. More often than not, it also misses the mark on that perfect balance between tart and sweet.
Last Easter I decided to try my hand at homemade lemon bars. I was tired of being let down by store bought options and was optimistic when I saw the short ingredient list. A family member insisted she always had great luck with Ina Garten's recipe so I decided to take her advice. Lesson learned: never make a recipe for the first time on the day of a big event. While the bright lemony flavor was there, the texture was not. The curd filling had seeped under the crust layer AND the parchment liner, causing it to become soupy. There was no layer effect and so I decided to scoop it into small bowls with a spoon and top it with whipped cream, hoping to cover up the disaster (think Eton Mess). Ugh!
It's been nearly a year, but I decided to try it again. This time I did a little research, and without the pressure of family coming over, I thought I was in the clear. what luck! I actually found another blogger who did all the work for me! She took three popular lemon bar recipes and made ALL of them herself! Her findings were enough to convince me. It was a combination of two recipes that created this masterpiece. I'll never make lemon bars any other way again. The only thing I changed was to use only Meyer lemons. I just adore the sweetness they bring and the scent is heavenly. Even the skin is more suitable for eating then a regular lemon's zest. Like other citrus, they are in season from November through March.
- ½ cup (2 ounces) confectioners’ sugar
- 1½ cups (7.5 ounces) all-purpose flour
- 12 tablespoons (1½ sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 4 large eggs, beaten lightly
- 1⅓ cups granulated sugar
- 3 Tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons grated zest (from 2 Meyer lemons)
- ⅔ cup fresh juice from 4 to 5 Meyer lemons, strained
- ⅓ cup milk (whole preferably)
- ⅛ teaspoon table salt
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and butter a 9-by-13-inch baking pan.
2. Sift the confectioners’ sugar into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Stir in the flour. Add the butter and beat on low speed just until a smooth dough forms.
3. Press the dough evenly into the pan and allow it to come up about a ½ inch up the sides of the pan. Line the crust with parchment paper and fill with pie weights. Bake the crust until it is a deep golden brown, about 25-35 minutes.
Reduce the oven temperature to 325 degrees. Next, whisk the eggs, sugar, and flour in a medium bowl, then stir in the lemon zest, juice, milk, and salt to blend well.
Slowly pour onto the warm crust. Bake until the filling feels firm when touched lightly, about 30 minutes. Transfer the pan to a wire rack; cool to near room temperature, at least 30 minutes.
Cut into serving-size bars or triangles, wiping knife clean between slices, as necessary. Sift confectioners’ sugar over bars, if desired.
These Meyer Lemon Bars are great on their own but pair wonderfully with fresh berries, vanilla gelato or a cup of hot coffee.
*recipe is adapted slightly from both Tartine and Cook's Illustrated, as suggested by The Crumbly Cookie.