If I Wish Hard Enough, It Will Be June: Meyer Lemon Lemon Bars

I am not a winter person. I don’t ski, I don’t muck around with snowballs. I will admit to a weakness for winter-friendly foods like crazy stews or cassoulet which might be too much for summertime, but that is as far as I’ll go. That being said, winter in NYC thus far has been a total bear, and consequently I am enjoying it much less than usual, which I hardly need mention is very little indeed. This year I am even attempting to stave off my regularly-scheduled dose of Seasonal Affective Disorder (has there ever been a more appropriate, and disheartening, acronym ever?) through treatments with a sunlamp in the morning. Still, to hedge my bets, I wanted to throw some culinary inspiration into the mix.

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What could be more reminiscent of bright, clean, sunlit days than fresh citrus? A pilgrimage to the local Costco netted me 12 pounds of these gorgeous Meyer lemons. In addition to looking delightful and summery, my entire apartment smells lovely just for having these on the counter. Meyers are pretty awesome, in that they look like someone has just done a quick Photoshop job on some normal lemons, but their real brilliance is that they have the taste of lemons without the overpowering acidity. The more astute reader may be asking themselves at this point, “Sure, that’s all well and good, but twelve pounds?!?” Yes, Astute Reader. Twelve. I have big plans!

lemonbar2

I’ve spent several years now saying things like, “I should really get into canning.” After a lot of delay, this is the time! Well — not quite the time. Some snafus revolving around my utter inability to find canning equipment in an actual store, plus unforeseen delays in shipping times, mean that the trifecta of preserved goods I’m about to unleash will be appearing here shortly. (If you must know, Big Plans = Meyer lemon marmalade, lemon curd, and in a long-term initiative involving something like 80 days of steeping, I’m going for homemade Meyer lemon limoncello. Oh yes.) In the meantime, I’m using a handful of my Sunkist beauties to make a modified version of the standard lemon bar: The Meyer Lemon Lemon Bar!

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Like their star ingredient, the light lemon flavor shines through without the crazy lemon pucker. The very top layer came out almost like a meringue crust, which is a great texture element and crackles in a really satisfying way. I’m planning to bring these into the office tomorrow — but seeing as how I’ve already eaten about a third of the pan, I’m not entirely sure if they’ll make it that far.

Meyer Lemon Lemon Bars

Crust:
2 sticks unsalted butter
1/2 c powdered sugar
2 c all purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt

Filling:
4 eggs
2 c sugar
2/3 c Meyer lemon juice
2 tbsp Meyer lemon zest
4 tbsp all purpose flour
(and more powered sugar for the top)

  1. Cream the butter and sugar together.
  2. Add the flour and salt and mix until it makes a dough. Note: this dough may well feel cooler to squish with your fingers than any other dough in the world.
  3. Press into the bottom of a well-buttered 9×13 baking dish.
  4. Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes.
  5. For the filling: Beat the eggs and sugar together until pale yellow and creamy.
  6. Add lemon juice, zest, and flour.
  7. Pour this onto the crust, and bake at 350 until set, about 30 minutes.
  8. Cool, and either dust the whole thing with powdered sugar, or do each piece separately as you plate.
  9. (Side note: if your bars are TOTALLY cooled off or have been in the fridge and it seems like it will be impossible to cut a nice slice, dip the baking dish into hot water for a few seconds and they will pop right out! Magic!)
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