This morning while making these delicious muffins I noticed my giant bowl of lemons staring at me sadly. While staring back at them I was reminded of homemade lemon bars. One of the tastiest lemon desserts ever made. I don’t know how I had forgotten them. I buy lemons almost every week (at an average of 5/$1 how could you not?) and frequently use them in recipes and drinks. So the search began for the perfect recipe. I found quite a few with heavy cream or whole milk in them which seemed rather odd for light and refreshing lemon bars. Then I stumbled upon David Lebovitz’s blog and his Whole Lemon Bars recipe. My mind was made up.
They came out perfect! Refreshingly sweet with every bite. I had to double check I was supposed to cut up and blend an ENTIRE lemon, but it actually worked out great. No zesting required. I worked really hard getting my crust as smooth as possible. It almost felt like I was smoothing concrete. Ahh when my perfectionist side comes out just try and stop me. Also, big tip I learned from Alton Brown is to use a pizza cutter. Makes easy and (usually) even sized bars. I will hopefully be giving a few of these away as we don’t need to eat an entire dozen of muffins, leftover quesadillas, and a pan of lemon bars!
Whole Lemon Bars
adapted from: David Lebovitz
- 1 cup flour
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 8 tablespoons melted unsalted butter
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 lemon
- 1 cup sugar
- 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice (took me 2 lemons)
- 3 large eggs, room temperature
- 4 teaspoons corn starch
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 3 tablespoons melted unsalted butter
- Powdered sugar for dusting (works best with sifter or shaker)
Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Overturn an 8-inch square pan on the counter and wrap the outside snugly with foil, shiny side up. Remove the foil, turn the pan over, and fit the foil into the pan, pressing to nudge the foil into the corners and smooth as best you can (David this technique worked PERFECT). In a medium bowl, mix the flour, 1/4 cup sugar, 1/4 teaspoon salt, 8 tablespoons melted butter, and vanilla, stirring just until smooth. Smooth the batter into the bottom of the pan, using a small offset spatula to get it as level as possible. Bake the crust for 25 minutes, or until it’s golden brown.
While the crust is baking, cut the lemon in half, remove the seeds, and cut into chunks(yes, the whole lemon, skin and all). Put the chunks of lemon in a food processor or blender along with the sugar and lemon juice. Continue blending until the lemon is completely broken up. Add the eggs, corn starch, 1/4 teaspoon of salt, and 3 tablespoons melted butter, and continue blending until almost smooth. If you have a few small lemon pieces do not fret, they add to the flavor.
When the crust comes out of the oven, reduce the heat of the oven to 300ºF . Pour the lemon filling over the hot crust and bake for 25 minutes or just until the filling stops jiggling and is barely set. Remove from the oven and let cool completely before eating. Carefully lift out the bars and foil out of the pan and cut into squares or rectangles. Dust powdered sugar over the top (light or heavy-handed) and enjoy!