All right. I finally used those last two lemons. I had to break a cardinal rule to do it (Thou shalt not make bar cookies in a pan smaller than 9×13), and I regret not having the extra lemons I would have needed to double these, but dear God are these things delicious.
I started out with David Lebovitz and his whole lemon bars from a week or so ago. I also remembered Smitten Kitchen’s delightfully fluffy Austrian shortbread and thought I just had to use that as the crust. Topped off with a bit of powdered sugar, these babies are soft and gently sweet with everything you’d expect from the meyer lemons. I’m addicted to them now, by the way. Hopelessly so. And my regular grocery store does not carry them. What am I going to do?
Well, to start with, I’ll tell you how to make these lovely things.
For the Crust
8 T (one stick) of cold butter
1 egg yolk
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup flour
1/2 t baking powder
1/4 t salt
zest of 1 meyer lemon
For the Filling
1 whole meyer lemon
juice of a second meyer lemon (you know, like the one you just zested for the crust)
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup flour
1/4 t salt
2 T melted butter
Directions: Shortbread Crust
This could not be easier. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Pile all of the shortbread ingredients into your food processor and pulse until crumbly like damp sand.
Pour the sandy stuff into a foil lined 8×8 pan and press down very gently on the shortbread. You still want it to have some airiness.
Then bake it for about 20 minutes at 350°F. The finished crust should look like this:
While it’s baking, you should wash your food processor, ’cause you need it again, and start making the lemony filling.
Directions: Lemon Filling
Chop up the whole lemon, scrape off the seeds, and plop the chunks into the food processor. Juice the zested lemon and add the juice, too.
Pulse until it looks like double thick orange juice. Yum, lemon puree!
Add sugar, eggs, flour, salt, and butter. Pulse these together, too. The mixture should be fairly smooth, but there will be a few lemon skin and pith bits floating around. Don’t worry about it; a little texture never hurt anyone. Pour this wondrous liquid over the hot shortbread, reduce the oven temperature to 300°F, and bake for 25 minutes. The center of the filling should jiggle a bit when you shake the pan, but no longer be liquid.
When baked, they have this amazing moon-crater texture. You can tell how light and airy they are just by looking at them.
Chill them for two hours to set the filling. Then the only really annoying part comes. You have to turn this:
which involves runing a butter knife very gingerly (ooh, ginger would be good) between the foil and the bars. This would probably have been easier if I had used heavy-duty foil, but I didn’t have any. As it was, I tore the foil in about nine places and yelled at it at least twice. Peel the foil away from the bars, and cut them into 16 2×2 inch squares. Then watch them try to run away as you try to take a picture, because Mr. B absolutely could not wait another 1/500th of a second to eat one.
I was tempted to use part brown sugar, but I’m glad I didn’t. Those lemons really deserved to shine, and this recipe absolutely lets them. I have made a great many citrus bars, and these are by far the best. Even better than the world’s sourest lemon-lime bars. They’re delicate and sweet and taste more like lemonade and cookies than anything else.