Chicken and Egg
There are lemon bars – the stale, thin, tasteless versions mass-produced for coffee shop chains – and then there are lemon bars – the kind with delectably flaky crusts and thick, lemony curds usually found only in grandma’s kitchen. Janice Cole’s recipe, from Chicken and Egg: A Memoir of Suburban Homesteading with 125 Recipes (Chronicle Books), lands squarely in the latter category, thanks to the addition of a few extra yolks. Healthy? Not exactly. The greatest of guilty pleasures? You betcha.
For the crust:
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup confectioner's sugar
1/3 cup cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened and cut up
For the filling:
4 eggs plus 2 egg yolks
1 cup sugar
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3/4 cup fresh lemon juice (about 3 large lemons)
1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
Confectioner's sugar for sprinkling
1. To make the crust: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 13 x 9-inch baking pan or coat with nonstick spray. Beat together the flour, confectioner's sugar, cornstarch, and salt in a large mixing bowl with an electric mixer at low speed. Add the butter and beat until it’s distributed throughout and the mixture is moist and crumbly. Sprinkle over the baking pan. With lightly floured hands, press the dough into the bottom of the pan to form a crust. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from the oven and immediately reduce the oven temperature to 300 degrees F.
2. To make the filling: While the crust is baking, whisk together the eggs and egg yolks in a medium bowl until blended. Add the sugar and flour and whisk until smooth. Whisk in the lemon juice and then the lemon zest. Pour the filling over the hot crust.
3.Bake the lemon bars at 300 degrees F for 15 to 20 minutes, or until set. Cool completely on a wire rack. Cut into 24 bars, and sprinkle with confectioner's sugar before serving.
Makes 24 lemon bars
Excerpted from Chicken and Egg © 2011, by Janice Cole. Reprinted with permission of Chronicle Books. Photographs by Alex Farnum.
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