It’s been a weekend full of excitement here in the Sweet Precision kitchen. I’ve had a special guest visiting me here in DC… my dad! We’ve been busy doing some touristy things around the city and also doing some baking and cooking in my apartment. One of my dad’s favorite desserts are lemon bars, so as a surprise I bought all the ingredients so we could make them together. I’m not that big of a lemon fan myself, but these lemon bars are tasty enough to convert a critic.
Spring demands lemon bars, but too often these bright yellow and shiny treats have flaws hidden underneath a fine layer of powdered sugar as they sit alluringly in a glass case. Lemon zest is really the key to a truly successful lemon bar and this recipe has a lot of it, so get those lemon zesters ready! In addition, it boasts a strong crust that can hold up to the tangy curd topping. The perfect finishing touch is some vanilla ice cream on the side—it’s the perfect complement to the tartness of the lemon curd.
Butter for greasing the pan
2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
¾ cup powdered sugar, plus more for garnish
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup butter
6 large eggs
2 ¼ cups sugar
1 ¼ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
3 tablespoons grated lemon zest
Place a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9-inch square pan. Combine 2 cups of the flour, the powdered sugar, and the salt in a large bowl. Add the butter and blend with a pastry cutter or your fingers until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Press into the greased pan, pushing the dough all the way up the sides. Bake until the edges are golden brown, about 20 minutes, then remove and reduce the oven temperature to 315°F.
Meanwhile, in another large bowl, whisk together the eggs and sugar until smooth. Gently stir in the lemon juice and zest. (To minimize aesthetically displeasing little bubbles on the top of the bars, avoid whisking further.) Fold in the remaining ½ cup flour.
Pour the egg mixture over the hot crust and bake until the curd is set and no longer jiggles when you move the pan, 35 to 45 minutes. Cool thoroughly before cutting into bars. Dust with powdered sugar and serve.
Heather’s Helpful Hints
To prevent a soggy crust on your lemon bars, brush the crust with an egg white wash before baking. The egg whites will form a protective barrier between the crust and the lemon curd that you add later. Because egg whites are almost tasteless they will be nearly undetectable in your lemon bar crust when baked.