Friday, September 2

Whole Lemon Bars

It took me a little while to warm up to lemon bars.  Most of my exposure to them came through the various bake sales of my childhood, and who would have lemon bars when there are brownies, cupcakes, and cookies, oh my?  Fortunately my taste matured.  Still, lemon bars can frequently be something of a wild-card.  Sometimes they are too sweet, sometimes the crust is just lacking, sometimes the lemon offers only a hint of flavor.

this would be an occasion to splurge
for the sifter

On the same day that Elizabeth and I made the Coconut Red Lentil Soup, we made these Whole Lemon Bars.  Oh, they were perfect.  The bars had the zing of the citrus and a shortbread-like crust.  Not to mention they are just plain ol' purdy to look at.

now that's what I'm talking about

This recipe uses an actual whole lemon that is pulverized by a blender or food processor.  For that lemon, Mr. Lebovitz (the man who developed this recipe) recommends using an organic lemon because everything (pith, pulp, peel, and all) goes in the lemon bars.  One organic lemon is not very expensive either.  As for the lemon juice, I think two lemons should be more than enough to produce 3 tablespoons of juice.

Whole Lemon Bars
by David Lebovitz

1 cup flour
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 tablespoon salt
8 tablespoons melted unsalted butter
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Lemon Topping
1 lemon, organic or unsprayed
1 cup sugar
3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
3 large eggs, room temperature
4 teaspoons corn starch
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons melted unsalted butter

Optional: powdered sugar, for serving

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Overturn an 8-inch square pan on the counter and cover the inside of the pan with foil, shiny side up.  A good way to do this is by first wrapping it around the outside of the pan to get the shape.
Mix the crust ingredients together and stir until just smooth.  Pour the batter into the pan, making sure to spread and smooth it so it is level.  Bake for 25 minutes, or until it's golden brown.
While the crust is cooking, cut the lemon (this would be the organic one) in half, remove the seeds, and cut it into chunks.  Blend the lemon chunks, sugar, and lemon juice until the lemon is no longer chunky.  Add the rest of the lemon topping ingredients and continue blending until almost smooth.
When the crust is out of the oven, reduce the heat to 300 degrees, pour the lemon mixture over the crust and bake for 25 minutes or just until the filling stops jiggling and is barely set.
Take it out of the oven and let it cool completely.  Then carefully remove the golden wonder by lifting the foil.  Cut into the desired shape and sift powdered sugar over the top before serving.  Voil√†!

At the moment, I am in Delaware with my aunt and uncle and cousins.  My first-cousin-once-removed (although who knows if that is right) is now 3 years old and loves The Who.  To the point that he wants to be called Roger (the lead singer's name).  Currently, his favorite song is "Baba O'Riley" and, man, has this kid got the rhythm down.  So in honor of him, here is "Baba O'Riley" by The Who:

Lebovitz, David. "Whole Lemon Bars." David Lebovitz: Living the Sweet Life in Paris. 17 Feb. 2011. Web. 14 June 2011. <>.

1 comment:

  1. So nice to see Pranzo back and vibrant after the summer hiatus!