Wednesday, June 1, 2011

The Rapture Lemon Bars by Colleen

Background note:  Last week, Colleen (who was down with a cold) mentioned that she was thinking about making lemon squares. So,  I asked her to share her recipe since Tom has been wanting me to make them. 

Hi Barb --

Almost feel human enough to bake today. I have four lemons. I found a recipe from Barefoot Contessa online, and then a modification from Smitten Kitchen of the same recipe. So I might try that. I guess BC likes 50/50 on the cookie and lemon custard , while SK likes more 70/30 in favor of cookie. I will ponder my own feelings on this key issue and attempt a batch. Will report back later.

---Colleen

Hi again Barb --

I have the bars in the oven. I went with the Smitten Kitchen recipe which calls for less sugar. But I did the BC ratio with 1:1 cookie/lemon.

HOWEVER, I have done a "Barbara," meaning I decided I like raspberry with lemon so I put some fresh raspberries on the crust before I poured on the lemon custard. We will see if this works! I forgot to take any photos when I did this - I just don't cook with a camera in mind, although all the good
bloggers do!

Anyway, I'll let you know how this turns out. Today the world was supposed to end. Actually by 6 EST, and 3 PST. I had planned to get them made prior to the end of the world - I figured who cares about calories if the world is ending? Go out with a bang! However, it seems that the world is NOT ending. So if the recipe works, you can make it too!

We can call them To Die For Lemon Bars! Or Rapture Lemon Bars. Sherri Shepherd on the View said she was cleaning her house and making cupcakes so if the rapture did happen Jesus would have something to eat when he came to get her. She is such a weird mixture of funny and village idiot all in one package.
---Colleen

Okay Barb - see recipe attached. I think Tom will enjoy. The cookie is delicious and the SK version of the bar with reduced sugar in the lemon custard is good. I think with or without the berries will be a hit. Go for it!

Smitten Kitchen Lemon Bars
(or The Rapture Lemon Bars/May 21, 2011)
Adapted from The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook

For those of you who like the 1:1 crust to lemon layer ratio, use the second option.

For the crust:
1/2 pound unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 cups flour
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt

For the full-size lemon layer:
6 extra-large eggs at room temperature
2 1/2 cups granulated sugar
2 tablespoons grated lemon zest (4 to 6 lemons)
1 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 cup flour

Confectioners' sugar, for dusting

[Or] for a thinner lemon layer:
4 extra-large eggs at room temperature
1 2/3 cups granulated sugar
1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest (3 to 4 lemons)
2/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
2/3 cup flour

Confectioners' sugar, for dusting

Preheat the oven to 350°F and grease a 9 by 13 by 2-inch baking sheet.

For the crust, cream the butter and sugar until light in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Combine the flour and salt and, with the mixer on low, add to the butter until just mixed. Dump the dough onto a well-floured board and gather into a ball. Flatten the dough with floured hands and press it into the greased baking sheet, building up a 1/2-inch edge on all sides. Chill.

Bake the crust for 15 to 20 minutes, until very lightly browned. Let cool on a wire rack. Leave the oven on.

For the lemon layer, whisk together the eggs, sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice, and flour. Pour over the crust and bake for 30 to 35 minutes (less if  you are using the thinner topping), or about five minutes beyond the point where the filling is set. Let cool to room temperature.

Cut into triangles and dust with confectioners' sugar.

Barb--
Here is what I did differently from SK:

Eggs: If you don't have XL eggs, use 7 large instead of 6 XL. Close enough.

I prepped the pan with Crisco Baker's Spray ­ it has some sort of flour suspended in the oil and the bars did not stick. SK had had some issue with bars adhering to pan like glue. I also went around the edge with a flat knife when I took them out of the oven to loosen the edges.

I didn't bother with putting the cookie dough onto a board with flour. I just pressed it into the pan. Seemed to work just find. But I also didn't use a mixer for the dough. I just did it by hand until the ingredients just came together into a ball.

iPhoto, thanks to Buddy

Berries: I added about 1 cup of fresh raspberries to the recipe. I think you could use either raspberries or blueberries. After I baked the crust I let it cool. Then I sprinkled on the berries and poured the lemon custard over the top. The berries traveled a little toward the edges, so I moved them back to a more even distribution before I put it in the oven to bake.

I baked the second round for 30 minutes. It might have been a bit too long, even with the thicker layer of lemon. Be careful to check them at 25 minutes, especially if your oven runs hot. When I cut the bars, the outside edge was bit overdone, but the inside was delicious. You can just cut a 1/4 to 1/2 inche strip around the edge of the pan and only serve the interior portion.

I really liked the addition of the berries. One, it gives them a little hit of color. Two the tartness of the berries helps mitigate against the sweetness of the cookie. Three, it adds fiber and potassium. So you can consider the bar a health food. Win-win!!

So William just tried one of the bars. He likes the raspberry because he says normally the lemon is overwhelming. Let me know if you make them and what Tom thinks if you add the fruit.

---Colleen

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