Lemon Bars with a Shortbread Crust
These were a special request by my very dear friend Maria. We are total Lemon freaks, and when she asked for a lemon bar recipe- I realized that I didn’t have one that I absolutely loved. So I borrowed from my mother’s recipe for the filling, (tweaking it only slightly!) and then decided to experiment with the crust. If the ingredients look familiar, I literaly used my sugar cookie recipe, minus the eggs. Without the eggs, it is really a shortbread recipe- just flour, sugar and butter. It winds up a buttery, slightly flaky and sweet crust, but it is still thick enough to support the lemon custard when it is cut into bars.
And the filling is great- I don’t like anything too eggy or too sweet- I like to really taste the citrusy sourness of the lemon.
Because these, are delicious, very pretty and incredibly fast and easy to make they are great for lots of occasions. These are great for showers, luncheons, and school lunches or for easy Sunday baking- kind of like brownies for lemon lovers ☺
Lemon Bars with a Shortbread Crust, makes 1 dozen 2″ square bars
2 cups AP flour
1 cup powdered sugar
1 cup cold butter, cut into small pieces
½ tsp salt
2 cups white sugar
1/3 cup flour
½ cup fresh lemon juice, (3 large lemons)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Prepare a 9×13” pan with cooking spray.
In the bowl of a food processor, (or in a large mixing bowl, with a pastry cutter) combine the flour, powdered sugar, butter and salt.
I like to push this past the point of a pie crust, which I would just barely want to come together- this has to have some sturdiness to it, so I will mix it until it has really come together, (see picture).
Pour the crust into the pan, and using a spatula, press the dough into a really firm crust on the bottom of the pan. Poke a few holes with a fork or knife to release steam while par-baking the crust.
Bake crust 15 minutes at 350 degrees. It will be barely golden. When you take it out, press the crust down with a spatula to release any steam bubbles that have formed, and to make a more compact crust.
While the crust is baking, make the filling. In a medium sized mixing bowl, whisk the eggs until fluffy.
Add the sugar, whisking constantly so that the yolks are not “cooked” by the sugar.
When the eggs and sugar are well combined, add the flour to the filling and mix well.
Finally add the lemon juice and whisk to combine.
Pour the filling over the hot crust when it comes out of the oven.
Return to the oven to cook for another 15 minutes. The lemon should just be set, and the top should have a tiny bit of golden color to it.
Let the lemon bars cool completely before sprinkling them with powdered sugar, (a shaker or sifter works best), and cutting into bars.