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REC: Perfect Lemon Bars

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13615 posts
Joined: Jul 17, 2006


Posted to Thread #5702 at 5:52 am on Feb 11, 2007

Perfect Lemon Bars
Cook’s Illustrated Magazine [2 or 3 years ago..?]

The lemon filling must be added to a WARM crust. The 30-minute chilling and 20-minute baking time of the crust should allow plenty of time to prepare the filling. If not, make the filling first and stir to blend just before pouring into the crust.

1-3/4 cup flour
2/3 cup confectioners’ sugar, plus extra for topping
1/4 cup cornstarch
3/4 tsp. salt
12 tbl. unsalted butter (1-1/2 sticks), chilled, cut into 1” pieces,
plus extra for greasing pan

Lemon Filling:
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
1-1/3 cup granulated sugar
3 tbl. flour
2 tsp. finely grated zest from 2 large lemons
2/3 cup lemon juice, strained
1/3 cup whole milk
1/8 tsp. salt

1. Crust - Adjust rack to center of oven and preheat to 350 deg. Lightly butter a 13x9” baking pan and line with parchment or waxed paper. Dot paper with extra butter, then lay a second sheet crosswise over it (extending over sides, so you can easily lift out finished bars).

2. Pulse flour, confectioners’ sugar, cornstarch and salt in food processor. Add 1” pieces of frozen butter and process to blend (8-10 seconds) then pulse until mixture is pale yellow and resembles coarse meal (about three 1-second bursts). [to do this by hand, mix the same ingredients in a medium bowl. Freeze butter and grate it on large holes of box grater, into the flour mixture. Toss pieces to coat. Rub pieces between your fingers for a minutes until flour turns pale yellow and coarse]. Sprinkle mixture into lined pan and press firmly with fingers into even 1/2” layer over entire pan bottom and about 1/2” up sides. Refrigerate for 30 minutes, then bake until golden brown (about 20 min.)

3. Filling - While crust is baking, whisk eggs, sugar and flour in medium bowl, then stir in lemon juice, zest, milk and salt to blend well.

4. To finish, reduce oven temperature to 325 deg. Stir filling mixture to re-blend and pour into warm crust. Bake until filling feels firm when touched lightly, about 20 min. Transfer pan to wire rack and cool to near room temperature (at least 30 min.) After cooling, grasp edges of paper and left bars onto cutting board. Fold paper down and cut into bars, wiping knife or pizza cutter clean between cuts. Sift extra confectioners’ sugar over bars.

Inside me lives a skinny woman crying to get out, but I can usually shut her up with cookies!

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