Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Pucker Up

My husband’s fam is all about the citrus desserts.

They can’t get enough of Key Lime Pie, Lemon Meringue Pie, Lemon Pound Cake, Orange Chocolate Chip Cake, Lemon Sorbet ….

And on and on the list goes.

So of course when having Mark’s parents over recently, The Husband requested his ultimate fav, Lemon Meringue Pie.

I love my husband with all my heart, but I was so NOT making Lemon Meringue Pie that day.

For one thing, it was raining. It was really, seriously pouring and meringue and precipation are not friends. They sit on opposite sides of the cafeteria, actually.

That’s because for meringue to be meringue the egg whites need to dry out. Damp days don’t help the meringue cause.

The other reason I was not groovin’ on Lemon Meringue Pie is because well, it takes like three hours to make. The zesting, the juicing, the beating. It just never ends.

So, as the case may be in many marriages, a compromise was made: Lemon Bars.

The Husband was pleased.

These cookies are fab. They’re pretty much shortbread with a custardy lemon filling. A dusting of powdered sugar makes them look super pretty.

The recipe is from the Williams-Sonoma Collection Series book, "Cookies".

I highly recommend this book. The recipes are simple, and the photos are gorgeous. It has all the classic cookies recipes that you want.

Lemon Bars
From “Cookies,” Williams Sonoma Collection Series

For the crust:

1 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup confectioners’ sugar
¼ tsp. salt
1 tsp. grated lemon zest
½ cup cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

For the filling:
3 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
½ cup fresh lemon juice
3 large eggs
1 cup granulated sugar
1 Tbsp. grated lemon zest
Pinch of salt

Confectioners’ sugar for dusting

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Have ready a 13 ¾-by-4 ¼-inch oblong tart pan with a removable bottom or an 8-inch square baking pan with bottom and sides lined with aluminum and generously greased.

To make the crust, sift the flour, confectioners’ sugar and salt together into a bowl and transfer to a food processor. Add the lemon zest and pulse to blend. Add the butter a few pieces at a time, processing just until the mixture is crumbly. Transfer the mixture to the prepared pan and press evenly into the bottom and sides to form the crust.

Bake until the crust is just golden at the edges, about 25 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the filling. In a large measuring cup or pitcher, whisk together the flour and lemon juice. Add the eggs, granulated sugar, lemon zest and salt, and whisk until smooth. When the crust is baked, carefully pull out the oven rack and pour the filling into the crust. Close the oven door and reduce the heat to 325 degrees. Bake until the center is springy to the touch, about 30 minutes.

Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let cool completely. If using a tart pan with a removable bottom, place the pan on your outstretched palm and let the rim fall away or, using the sides of the foil as handles, carefully lift the cookie from the pan and place it on a cutting board. Using a fine-mesh sieve, dust the cookie generously with confectioners’ sugar. To make a striped pattern, lay strips of waxed paper across the cookie before dusting, and after dusting carefully remove the paper strips.

With a thin, sharp knife, cut crosswise into thin bars ¾-1 inch wide. Using a small, offset spatula, carefully remove the bars from the foil.

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