One of the goals I set for myself in 2020 was preparing, photographing, and posting on my blog all those recipes that I’ve always wanted to prepare but I never got around to actually prepare. Confinement definitely helped. I finally managed to get to work on the recipes and I produced these delicious cinnamon rolls, for example, and also a wonderful red lentil hummus and even energy bars. I’m still motivated and hopefully, I can continue to tick more recipes off that list. Today, it’s the turn of lemon bars.
Over the years I have become a big fan of lemon desserts, so I was curious to see how they came out if I prepared them at home. When I was a little girl, my mom would make a lemon cake and I remember that everybody loved it except me. It was just too bitter for me to enjoy. “You don’t know what you are missing!” they’d say. But no matter how many times I tried I never really developed a taste for it.
Now it’s different, not only do I like preparing desserts that have lemon, I love the aroma that fills the kitchen when I’m baking something with lemon in it. Lemon bars have become one of my favourites. Their crisp buttery shortbread crust and a delicious creamy lemon filling make them a great dessert or snack, whether it’s spring or summer.
INGREDIENTS for a 25 x 17,5 cm mould
350 gr flour
200 gr cold butter
100 gr white sugar
1 medium-sized egg
For the cream
300 gr sugar
200 gr butter
To prepare these delicious lemon bars we will start with the base. In a bowl, mix the cold butter -cut into small cubes- and the flour with your hands. Add the sugar and the egg. Continue mixing with your hands until you obtain a smooth and homogenous dough.
Sprinkle some flour on a dry and flat surface and place the dough. Form a ball, wrap it in plastic film and let it rest for at least half an hour inside the fridge. Now, for the cream! Melt the butter on a very low heat in a pot. Remove and let it cool.
In a bowl mix the six eggs thoroughly with the sugar. Pour the butter and mix. Scrape the zest from four lemons and squeeze them until you obtain 120 ml of juice. Strain and put it, together with the zest, in a bowl.
Next, put everything in the pot you have used to melt the butter and cook at low temperature, stirring with a whisk. Be careful, because we don’t want the cream to boil. We must stir for about 10 minutes until it becomes denser. Then pour it onto a wide and shallow container and cover it with plastic film, with the film touching the cream. Let it cool completely in the fridge.
After the shortbread crust has been allowed to rest, take it out of the fridge, spread with a rolling pin until you it’s about 7mm thick, and has the dimensions of the mold. Place it inside the mold and prick the surface with a fork (this will prevent it from rising during baking). Bake for 20 minutes in an oven preheated to 170ºC. Once ready, remove and let it cool a little. Add the lemon cream, making sure it sets evenly. Put the mold in the static oven again for 30 minutes at 170ºC.
Remove from the oven and let it cool completely before unmolding. Use a big knife to cut into squares, which is how this dessert is typically presented. Sprinkle some confectioners’ sugar on top and…enjoy!