(Click on photos for larger images)
I actually made these lemon bars the day after I made the lemon strawberry cheesecake squares because I had so many lemons. Don't worry, I brought the lemon bars over to my friend's house along with the cheesecake squares.
I pieced together this recipe using a little bit of Martha Stewart's crust and David Lebovitz's filling with some tweaks from Ina Garten. I guess I'm very particular, I don't know, I always do that. I just can't follow a recipe exactly as it's laid out.
1/2 cup flour
1/4 cup confectioners' sugar
1/8 cup cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 lemon, peel removed
1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
3 large eggs, room temperature
4 teaspoons corn starch
1/3 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
Optional: powdered sugar, for serving
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees, with rack in center. Coat a 9-inch square baking pan with cooking spray. I lined it with some foil so that it would be easier to pull out.
2. Make the crust: In a food processor, pulse flour with confectioners' sugar, cornstarch, and salt. Add butter and vanilla; pulse until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Just use small pulses, you don't want to over mix the dough or else it'll be too wet and hard to work with. Also the texture of the crust turns tough when over mixed. Press into bottom and 3/4 inch up sides of prepared pan. Refrigerate 15 minutes. Bake until crust is lightly browned 20 minutes.
3. While the crust is cooking, cut the lemon in half, remove the peel and seeds, and cut the lemon into chunks.
4. Put the chunks of peeled lemon in a food processor or blender along with the zest, sugar, and lemon juice, and let it run until the lemon is completely broken up. Add the eggs, corn starch, flour, and salt, and blend until almost smooth. (A few tiny bits of lemon pieces are normal and encouraged.)
8. When the crust comes out of the oven, reduce the heat of the oven to 300 degrees. Pour the lemon filling over the hot crust and bake for 30 minutes or just until the filling stops jiggling and is barely set.
This photo sucks because I set up my camera on my tripod and I forgot to adjust the settings! I was shooting on manual mode and I left it on a super high shutter speed. Oops! But at least it was on a tripod so the photo was somewhat salvageable. My bad.
9. Remove from the oven and let cool completely. Once cool, carefully lift out the bars grasping the foil. Cut the bars into squares or rectangles. Sift powdered sugar over the top just before serving (optional). If you shift the sugar too early, the sugar kind of melts and "disappears," so try to sprinkle the sugar right before serving.
Sift that powdered sugar! You don't want to have little clumps!
I stole this serving plate from my neighbor, Chris. He's much fancier than I am.