Before you poo poo the tawny color of my lemon bars, hold your horses. These are the best lemon bars you will ever eat. And they're all organic, and really good for you. Lots of vitamin C in there. So here's the dealeo. I always want to love lemon bars, but they always fall short. They're never tart enough for me, and the crust is lackluster. So I took a stellar recipe from dessert guru Alice Medrich, and honed it so that I could always have the lemon bar of my dreams, one that is super tart and caramely. The reason my lemon bars are so dark, the crust and the filling, is because I make a buerre noisette for the crust (instead of just melting the butter, you go further and actually brown the butter). And if anyone snubs your tawny little bars, it's just more lemon bar heaven for you!
Here are the specs:
Preheat the ov to 350, and position the oven rack in the lower third of it. Fit an 8" round baking pan with removeable bottom, and line it with parchment paper. Butter the sides of the pan.
FOR THE CRUST:
8 TB butter (1 stick, melted to buerre noisette (that just means to keep melting till it turns a golden brown. Keep your eye on it so the milk solids don't burn)
1/4 cup organic sugar
3/4 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup all purpose flour
FOR THE FABULOUS LEMON FILLING:
1 cup organic sugar
3 TB all purpose flour
3 large eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup strained fresh squeezed lemon juice (I think I used 4 smallish lemons, and I used the zest from all of them too)
MAKE THE CRUST:
In a medium bowl, combine your buerre noisette with your whirred sugar, vanilla and salt. Add the flour and mix until just incorporated. DON'T overwork, and don't be tempted to add more flour to the mixture. It will look very damp. Press this damp ball over the bottom of the foil lined pan. I went up the sides with the dough just a hair so it would encase some of the filling at the edge. Why not, ya know? Bake this baby for 25 minutes or so, until its golden brown all the way through the center. mmmm! (I thought this would be delicious eaten on its own.)
WHILE THE CRUST IS BAKING, MAKE THE FILLING:
Stir together your eggs and vanilla with the sugar until incorporated. Add the lemon zest and juice, stir. Stir in the flour. You can use a whisk to make sure all the lumps are out, but don't let the mixture get frothy or your lemon bars will have a frothy scum on the top.
When the crust is ready, turn the ov down to 300 degrees, pour the filling into the hot shell, and bake for 20 - 25 minutes or until the filling does not jiggle in the center when the pan is tapped. Set on a cooling rack and cool completely in the pan before cutting.
To cut, run a knife around the circumference of the pan, then pop out the bottom. Cut into wedges and devour.
PS, I put mine in the fridge after 20 minutes of cooling. I couldn't wait any longer, and wanted to speed up the process. Came out just fine!
Mangia bene, vivi felice!