If you couldn’t tell by the featured image, chaos is my middle name. Whether I’m the cause of it, in the middle of it, or cleaning up after it, it always seems to be a noun closely associated with my name. My mom and I call them, “LL Mishaps.” It combines our initials, and the skill we have perfected the art of: mishap-ing. So instead of dwelling over an embarrassing moment walking repeatedly into the wrong class, spilling a Greek salad into a fire pit, and other instances alike, we just put it into the lengthy collection of some of our finest and most amusing LL Mishaps. It’s just a good way to remember to keep life light.
Over the weekend, I caught up with a good friend of mine who I haven’t seen in awhile. Naturally, we decided that the best use of our afternoon was binge watching The Office, making a mess out of a baking project, and then taking artsy pictures of it afterwards. And the result? This blog post I give you now. Our messy baking project actually turned out to be a hit! We decided to make lemon curd bars. Now, if you slightly cringed when you heard the word “curd” in the title, I don’t blame you. But this isn’t the chunky remnance of expired milk we have all encountered. But you have to trust me! I am certain that these lemon bars will find their way to your heart one way or another. So, shall we?
The recipe I used comes from the New York Times cooking app, that has bailed my mom and I out of countless last-minute dinner party meal scenarios, and introduced us to a lot of new foods and cooking techniques. I really liked this recipe, because it was very sweet, but used very little sugar as not to overpower the natural tartness of the lemons. I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I did!
Courtesy of the New York Times/Cooking/Melissa Clark
FOR THE CRUST:
- 1 ¼ cups/155 grams all-purpose flour
- ¼ cup/50 grams granulated sugar
- 3 tablespoons/25 grams confectioners’ sugar, plus more for sprinkling
- 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
- ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
- 10 tablespoons/142 grams cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes
FOR THE CURD:
- 4 to 6 lemons
- 1 ½ cups/300 grams sugar
- 2 large eggs plus 3 yolks
- 1 ½ teaspoons/5 grams cornstarch
- Pinch of fine sea salt
- 4 tablespoons/57 grams butter
- ¼ cup/60 milliliters fruity extra-virgin olive oil
- Confectioners’ sugar
- Flaky sea salt, for sprinkling
- Heat oven to 325 degrees and line a 9-by-9-inch baking pan with enough parchment to hang over two of the sides (to be used as handles later to lift the bars out of the pan).
- To make the shortbread base, pulse together the flour, granulated sugar, confectioners’ sugar, lemon zest and salt in a food processor, or whisk together in a large bowl. Add butter and pulse (or use two knives or your fingers) to cut the butter into the flour until a crumbly dough forms. Press dough into prepared pan and bake until shortbread is pale golden all over, 30 to 35 minutes.
- While the shortbread is baking, prepare the lemon curd: Grate 1/2 tablespoon zest from lemons and set aside. Squeeze lemons to yield 3/4 cup juice.
- In a small saucepan, whisk together lemon juice, sugar, eggs and yolks, cornstarch and fine sea salt over medium heat until boiling and thickened, 2 to 5 minutes. Make sure mixture comes to a boil or the cornstarch won’t activate. But once it boils do not cook for longer than 1 minute or you risk the curd thinning out again. Remove from heat and strain into a bowl. Whisk in butter, olive oil and lemon zest.
- When the shortbread is ready, take it out of the oven and carefully pour the lemon curd onto the shortbread base; return the pan to the oven. Bake until topping is just set, 10 to 15 minutes more. Allow to cool to room temperature, then refrigerate until cold before cutting into bars. Sprinkle with confectioners’ sugar and flaky sea salt right before serving.
After a few rounds of trial and error making the lemon curd (I let the curd boil for so long that eggs actually started to cook!), we finally got to sit back and yell at Jim for flirting with Karen instead of going back to his true love, Pam. Tisk tisk. I had an amazing afternoon, and even though we hit a few road bumps along the way, it’s what made the experience a memory I’ll never forget. Oh! I forgot to mention, at long last, I have downloaded Queen Bey’s most recent album, Lemonade, after strong recommendation from my cousin. He was the one who got me hooked on Hamilton, so I guess it’s safe to say that I’ll never doubt his musical brilliance ever again:) So, I felt it appropriate to play while making our lemon bars! I hope you enjoyed this recipe and this blog post. Leave a comment telling me if you have tried this recipe or are planning to try it, along some of your favorite recipes.
~The Legally Brunette