Need a little bright sunshine on a dull winter day? Just one bite of these Lemon Bars is guaranteed to transport you to a cheerful place.
It’s like sunshine on a plate!
To make an irresistible Lemon Bar, there are a few rules to follow:
Tips for making great Lemon Bars:
- The crust must be thinner than the filling! It doesn’t seem necessary to state this, however, I have seen Lemon bars in which the opposite occurs. A thin buttery shortbread-type crust is created by using confectioner’s sugar and cornstarch … and butter, of course.
- To create a tangy, lemony, bright, and bold filling, up to 5 fresh lemons are required. No bottled substitutes! This filling has a flavourful tartness about it – not too sweet at all.
- One mixing bowl! The bowl of the food processor can mix the crust ingredients, and then it can mix up the lemon filling. Easy…. I recognize that some Lemon Bar recipes suggest making the lemon curd separately prior to baking; and some recipes suggest rolling out the crust dough. All fine and good … Today, I am a fan of the one-bowl approach.
- Eggs with bright yellow yolks definitely add to the eye-appeal of these Lemons Bars. Pale-yolked eggs will work, of course… it’s just that the vibrant yellow colour will be conspicuously absent. It’s important that the eggs and the egg yolk are at room temperature.
- Adding baking powder to the lemon filling is pure chemistry – the baking powder and all of the acid in the lemons have a little conflict ….an argument ensues …there is a bit of fizzing and fussing … and then a subtle crunch settles in on the surface. If only other conflicts could be resolved so easily and so deliciously!
Prep Time: 15 minutes Baking Time: 45-60 minutes
Yield: 20 bars
Ingredients for the Base:
225 g ( 1 ½ cups) all purpose flour
70 g ( ½ cup / 125 mL) sifted confectioner’s sugar
2 tablespoons (30 mL) cornstarch
1 tablespoon (15 mL) finely grated, lemon rind, firmly packed (most of one lemon)
½ teaspoon (2.5 mL) salt
175 grams (6 ounces- ¾ cup / 1 ½ sticks) unsalted butter, cold, cut into small chunks
Ingredients for the Filling:
200 mL ( ¾ cup + 1 tablespoon) fresh lemon juice (4-5 lemons)
2 tablespoons (30 mL) finely grated, firmly packed lemon rind (1-2 lemons)
1 ¾ cups (435 mL / 350 g) granulated sugar
¼ cup (60 mL) all purpose flour
½ teaspoon (2.5 mL) baking powder
¼ teaspoon (1.5 mL) salt
5 large eggs, at room temperature
1 large egg yolk, at room temperature
2 tablespoons (30 mL) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
Extra confectioner’s sugar for dusting
- Line a 9 x 12 baking pan (preferably one with straight sides) with parchment paper. For easy removal after baking, make a ‘sling’ with two sheets of parchment paper.
- Make the Crust: In the bowl of a food processor, place flour, confectioner’s sugar, cornstarch, lemon rind, and salt. Pulse until well mixed.
- Gradually add butter chunks, and pulse until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
- Dump crust mixture into pan and press it evenly all over the bottom.
- Place pan in the freezer; preheat oven to 3500F (1800C).
- When the oven is hot, pre-bake the crust for 15 or 20 minutes, or until it is a very light golden brown.
- Make the Lemon filling: Put the lemon juice and lemon rind in food processor and process for a few seconds.
- Add sugar, flour, baking powder, and salt. Process for a few seconds, or until well mixed.
- Add eggs and egg yolk; process again until very well mixed. Stir in melted butter.
- Gently pour over baked crust. Reduce oven heat to 325oF (165oC) and bake an additional 30-35 minutes, or until set.
- Let cool completely in pan. Remove to cutting board and cut into bars.
- When cool, dust with confectioner’s sugar.