Monday, August 30, 2010

Lemon Bars: Attempt Two—FTW!!!

Hurray! And only on my second attempt. I should have just started with America's Test Kitchen. But let's not dwell on what might have been. Let's focus on the now and how awesome I am!

Time and time again America's Test Kitchen proves to be a good choice when trying new dessert recipes. I love how they include tips and information about not only what works but what doesn't work and why. Leeeeeeeeeeeeearning!

Lemon Bars



  • 1 1/4c flour
  • 1/2c powdered sugar
  • 1/2t salt
  • 8T butter, room temp., cut up into T.


  • 7 large egg yolks
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1c plus 2T sugar
  • 1/4c grated lemon zest (zest the lemons first, then juice them)
  • 2/3c fresh lemon juice (4-5 lemons total)
  • 4T butter, cut into T.
  • 3T heavy cream


  1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and preheat to 350. Line a 9" square baking pan with two pieces of aluminum foil at right angles (to form a sort of sling). Lightly coat foil with vegetable oil.
  2. Mix together flour, confectioners sugar and salt. Using a pastry cutter (or food processor) incorporate 8T of the butter.
  3. Sprinkle the mixture in to the prepared pan and press firmly into an even layer. Bake until the crust starts to brown slightly, about 20 minutes.
  4. While crust is baking, whisk together egg yolks and whole eggs in a medium non-reactive saucepan.
  5. Whisk in granulated sugar until combined, then whisk in lemon juice, lemon zest, and a pinch of salt.
  6. Add remaining 4T of butter and cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly until the mixture thickens slightly and registers 170 degrees (F) on an instant-read thermometer, about 5 minutes. (It may take longer than this and one it starts to boil, BAM it thickens right up.)
  7. Strain the mixture immediately into a non-reactive bowl (yes, all the zest will be left in the strainer) and stir in cream.
  8. Pour the warm curd over the hot crust. Bake until the filing is shiny and opaque and the center jiggles slightly when shaken, 10 to 15 minutes.
  9. Let cool completely on a wire rack, about 2 hours, before removing from the pan using foil and cutting into squares.
  10. Dust with confectioners sugar just before serving.
Note: It is important to pour the warm curd over the hot crust when making these intensely flavored bars. This ensures that the filling cooks through evenly.

These a much gooey and the crust is nice and thick. I think the heavy cream really made for a good addition. If I make lemon bars again, these are the ones I will make for sure. I did find one part of the process problematic, however. I couldn't get the powdered sugar that I sprinkled over the cooled bars to stick around. It just dissolved right into the lemon goop.

Once again, these were a success, so now I can move on to other baking adventures.

Want to know what Hui thought? Well he enjoyed the lemon bars enough to leave a comment on my Facebook page that went a little something like this:
best lemon squares period.

I'll take it!

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