Ah! The ubiquitous lemon bar. They are a must for every tea table. Our 45-year-old recipe comes from a woman named Leah Ashby, one of the sisters at the church where I grew up. The recipe card is mother’s original mimeographed relic from 1974 that made in a 9 x 13″ pan. I’ve updated it to larger proportions as these little jewels freeze impeccably. -E
These Lemon Bars also make the Christmas Cookie List every year, since they break up the chocolate and gingerbread pattern. -C
3 cups flour
3/4 cup confectioner’s sugar
1 and ½ cups plus 2 T. cold butter, cut into small cubes (3 ¼ sticks or 13.5 oz)
3 cups sugar
1/4 cup flour
1/2 t. baking powder
juice and zest from 3 large lemons (or 4 small lemons)
7 large eggs
1/4 t. Kosher salt
- Line all sides of a half-sheet sized baking pan (18″ x 13″) with parchment paper. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- In the food processor, combine butter, confectioner’s sugar and flour until the mixture is crumbly. You may also do this step by hand with a pastry cutter. Do not over process the pastry. You do not want to see it come together in the bowl of your food processor.
- Dump the crumbly mixture onto your prepared pan. Pat firmly into the bottom and sides of the pan. Do not press too forcefully as it will make your shortbread crust tough.
- Bake for 12 to 15 minutes. While the pastry is cooling, prepare the lemon filling.
- In a large bowl, blend the flour, sugar and baking powder. Set aside.
- In a bowl of stand mixer, blend the eggs, lemon zest, and lemon juice. Add the flour mixture to the bowl and blend until well combined.
- Pour lemon mixture on top of crust and bake for another 35-40 minutes until the center is set. Cool completely.
- Gently lift the baked pastry out of the pan and onto a large cutting board. Cut the well-done crusts off the outer perimeter of the pastry. (Those are the cook’s treat). Using a long, sharp chef’s knife, slice the pastry into desired size bars. Dust with additional confectioner’s sugar before plating.
I find that we like to cut the bars into small bite sized pieces, about 1 1/2″ square.
These freeze exceptionally well. I place them in layers between waxed paper in a plastic freezer container. I pull out only the number of bars I need for any occasion and dust them with confectioner’s sugar before plating.
© 2020, Blue Willow Kitchen