July 24, 2011

Lemon Bars

These lemon bars are tangy, sweet and very easy to make.  When baked, the slice forms 3 layers - a soft biscuity base, a gooey lemony middle and a soft, slightly crunchy cake topping.  The recipe here is doubled from that in the cookbook - I found that a single amount of topping didn't give enough lemony-ness for my liking.

Recipe Adapted From: The Cook's Companion by Stephanie Alexander
Ingredients - base (17 x 26 cm (6.5 x 10 inch) baking tin)
150g flour
4 tbsp caster sugar
130g cold butter

Ingredients - topping
4 eggs
500g caster sugar
2/3 cup lemon juice
Zest of one lemon
6 tbsp flour

1. Preheat oven to 160 C (320 F).  Line a 17 x 26 cm (6.5 x 10 inch) tin with baking paper.

2. Make the base first.  Using a food processor, combine the flour and caster sugar.

3. Cut the cold butter into rough cubish bits, not too big.

4. Whizz the butter into the flour and sugar until combined.  If it looks crumbly, keep processing it and it should come together - if not, add a little more butter.

5. Press the dough into the prepared tin and bake for 20 minutes, or until golden brown.

6. While the base is cooking, whisk eggs and sugar until well mixed.  You don't need to beat the mixture, so I do it by hand.

7. Zest the lemon and add it to the egg mixture, then juice the lemon.

8. Strain the pips out of the lemon juice (using some pulp is OK, it adds flavour) and if there isn't enough, juice another lemon or add bottled lemon juice.  Add the juice to the egg mixture and stir it in until well combined.

9. Sift in the flour and whisk gently to combine.

10. When the base is done, remove it from the oven and reset the heat to 150 C (302 F).  Pour the topping onto the base, while the base is hot, and bake for about 35 minutes or until the top is golden.  It should be a little springy to touch, but if you poke it too hard it will crack!

11. Cool completely before cutting the lemon bars into the size slices of your choice.  I usually cut them into bars about 2.5cm x 6cm.  If desired, dust the finished bars with icing sugar.

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