The Best Lemon Bars


Lemon is not only the last name of one of my favorite fictional characters, but it’s also one of my favorite flavors for delectable delights. I want lemon cakes, lemon slushies, and lemon bars non-stop! Like any good San Franciscan at heart, I have a deep and abiding love for Tartine. I make it a point of going there every time I visit home and, of course I have their cookbook. I made their lemon bars years ago and it’s been a family favorite ever since. My sister always requests these from me and I recently obliged, so I thought I’d pass on the love.

1/2 cup confectioners sugar
1 1/2 cup all purpose flour
3/4 cup butter, at room temp.
1/2 cup pine nuts pulverized in a food processor

1/2 cup all purpose flour
2 1/4 cup sugar
1 cup + 2 Tablespoons lemon juice
lemon zest from one lemon
6 large whole eggs
1 large egg yolk
pinch of salt (whisking eggs with salt helps to denature (relax) the protein in the eggs and breaks them up more quickly and thoroughly.)

Confectioner’s sugar to top

Preheat the oven to 350° F. butter a 9×13″ baking pan.

To make the crust, sift the confectioners sugar into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Add the flour and stir to mix. Add the butter and pine nuts and beat on a low speed just until a smooth dough forms. Transfer the dough to the prepared pan and press evenly into the bottom and 1/2 inch up the sides of the pan. It should be about 1/4 inch thick. To help even out the crust, use the flat bottom of any type of cup, pressing down firmly. Line the crust with parchment paper and fill with pie weights (I used beans cause I didn’t have any weights). Bake the crust until it colors evenly to a deep golden brown, 25 to 35 minutes. Rotate the pan 180 degrees if the crust appears to be baking unevenly.

While the crust is baking, make the filling: sift the flour into a mixing bowl. Add the sugar and whisk until blended. add the lemon juice and zest and stir to dissolve the sugar. In a separate mixing bowl, whisk the whole eggs and egg yolk with the salt. Add the eggs to the lemon juice mixture and whisk until well mixed.

When the crust is ready, pull out the oven rack holding the crust and pour the filling directly into the hot pan. (It is easiest to pour the custard into the pan if the pan is in the oven.) If the crust has come out of the oven and cooled before you have finished making the filling, put it back in for a few minutes so that it is hot when the custard is poured into it. Reduce the oven temperature to 300° F and bake just until the center of the custard is no longer wobbly, 30 to 40 minutes.

Let cool completely on a wire rack, then cover and chill well before cutting. Using a sharp knife, cut into 12 squares, or as desired. If you like, dust the tops of the squares with confectioners’ sugar. They will keep in an airtight container or well covered in the baking dish in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.

-CK 1.0

Recipe from Tartine

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