The lemon trees around the neighborhood are heavy-laden with ripe fruit. I’m not fortunate enough to have a lemon tree (4 oranges, 2 grapefruit), but there are plenty of trees along public walkways in which the fruit dangles nicely within reach. Gather ye lemons while ye may, I say. If you’ve never had the pleasure of pulling a fresh lemon from a tree, you’re missing out on one of the greatest olfactory experiences ever! They literally ooze the scent of lemon as soon as you touch them. I hesitate to wash my hands after touching one because the smell of fresh lemon is so delicious.
Which takes me to these wonderfully lemon-y lemon bars. The recipe popped up in my inbox the other day from Real Simple. At first I thought they might be better suited as a summertime treat, but with all these lemons practically falling into my hands, I decided to give them a try. Citrus is actually a sort of cross-seasonal flavor to me. If nothing else, it’s a great palate cleanser after a good meal and the perfect way to leave a light, refreshing flavor in your mouth. So, never mind the winter (if you happen to be somewhere cold and blustery), these are wonderful any time of year; a bright burst of lemon with a comforting shortbread crust. Enjoy!
- nonstick cooking spray
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, spooned and leveled
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces, plus more for the pan
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 3 large eggs
- 1 large egg yolk
- 2/3 cup granulated sugar
- 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
- 2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons heavy cream
- 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
- confectioners’ sugar, for dusting
- Heat oven to 350° F. Spray an 8-inch square baking pan with the cooking spray. Line the pan with 2 crisscrossed pieces of parchment, leaving an overhang on all sides; spray the parchment with the cooking spray.
- Make the crust: In a food processor, combine the flour, butter, granulated sugar, and salt; pulse until fine crumbs form. Press the mixture firmly into the bottom of the prepared pan and bake until pale golden, 25 to 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, make the filling: In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, egg yolk, granulated sugar, lemon juice, lemon zest, flour, cream, and salt.
- When the crust is baked, rewhisk the lemon mixture and pour onto the hot crust. Bake until just set, 15 to 18 minutes. Cool completely in the pan, then refrigerate until cold, about 2 hours.
- Holding both sides of the paper overhang, lift the cake out of the pan, transfer to a cutting board, and cut into 24 rectangles (6 rows by 4 rows). Store the bars covered in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Dust with the confectioners’ sugar before serving.