One of the things that is really great about my job is that I get to travel all over the country making pictures. After a slow start to the year I have been on the road a good deal lately which unfortunately means that I haven’t been spending as much time in the kitchen. Too many of my meals lately have been eaten in restaurants. Generally, this wouldn’t be a bad thing, however, the nature of my job means that often the only time that I have to eat on the road is in airports while I’m waiting for flights. Despite the celebrity chef chain restaurants pooping up in airports around the country, airport food at its best is still on par with Applebees (and usually worse).
The thing about cooking is that once you get used to making your own food and having access to a kitchen, you really start to miss it when you spend all of your time eating out. So needless to say it was nice to get back into the kitchen this weekend, if only a little bit. After trying in vain to get caught up with my food blog reading, I decided that the snow outside warranted something bright and springy, so I decided to make sweet and sticky lemon bars.
Whenever I make a lemon recipe like this I always wonder why I don’t do it more often. We have a family recipe for lemon sponge pie which is fantastic and I’ve made a number of other lemon recipes as well. I always forget how awesome lemon desserts are. Keep in mind, I’m talking about real lemon desserts, not convenience store lemon pies or lemon Jello (not that there is anything wrong with Jello). No, I’m talking about the real lemon flavor that knocks you in the teeth and catches you in the back of the throat. The kind of lemon flavor that can only be tamed with a bucket of sugar. And then more sugar on top.
The interesting thing about this recipe is that it takes an entire lemon, rind and all. There is no zesting, there is not dainty peeling. You just chop that sucker up and puree it in a food processor. The result is is a wonderfully gooey, sticky sweet dessert which also goes well with vanilla ice cream.
Recipe: Sweet and Sticky Lemon Bars
Summary: This recipe uses a whole lemon for a really strong kick of lemon flavor. Adapted from David Lebovitz’s recipe
- 1 cup flour
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 8 tablespoons melted unsalted butter
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 lemons, (one whole, one for juice)
- 1 cup sugar
- 3 large eggs, room temperature
- 4 teaspoons corn starch
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 3 tablespoons melted unsalted butter
- Powdered sugar, for sprinkling on top
- For the crust: Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Line an 8 inch square baking pan with foil, making it as smooth as possible. Mix the flour, 1/4 cup of sugar, 1/4 teaspoon of salt and 8 tablespoons of butter. Press the resulting dough into the foil lined pan – make the dough as even and flat as possible. Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes until golden brown.
- While the crust is baking, chop your whole lemon in half, remove the seeds, then chop into smaller pieces. Pulse these pieces in a food processor briefly, then add all of the other ingredients. Pulse until lemon mixture is smooth.
- When the crust is done, pour the lemon mixture on top and return to the oven for another 25 minutes, turning your heat down to 300. When the custard on top has set, remove from the oven and allow to cool completely. Cut into pieces and serve with powdered sugar on top.