It’s funny how preparing a single recipe can often inspire a chain of additional dishes due to leftover ingredients. After baking the Raspberry Crumb Breakfast Bars for Valentine’s Day, I was left with four lemons without a use. I turned to the America’s Test Kitchen Family Cookbook for ideas and decided that this lemon-intensive Lemon Bar recipe would be perfect. The smooth and vibrant curd topping really makes these bars shine, and the shortbread crust is an outstanding accompaniment. Now, what to do with seven lonely egg whites?
For the crust
- 1 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar, plus extra for dusting
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 stick unsalted butter, softened but still cool, cut into 1-inch pieces
For the lemon filling
- 7 large egg yolks
- 2 large eggs
- 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 2/3 cup fresh lemon juice (4-5 lemons)
- 1/4 cup grated lemon zest
- 1/2 stick unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces
- 3 tablespoons heavy cream
Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 350°F. Line a 9-inch square pan by folding two 16-inch pieces of foil lengthwise to measure 9 inches wide. Fit one sheet on the bottom of the pan, pushing it into the corners and up the sides (overhang will help in removal of baked bars). Fit the second sheet in the pan in the same manner, perpendicular to the first sheet. Spray the sheets with nonstick cooking spray.
Process the flour, confectioners’ sugar, and salt in a food processor until combined, 3 seconds. Add the butter and process to blend, 8 to 10 seconds, then process until the mixture is pale yellow and resembles coarse meal, about three 1-second pulses. Sprinkle the mixture into the prepared pan and press firmly with your fingers into an even layer over the entire pan bottom. Bake the crust until golden brown, about 20 minutes.
While the crust is baking, whisk the yolks and whole eggs together in medium nonreactive saucepan. Add the granulated sugar and whisk until just combined. Add the lemon juice, zest, and salt; whisk until combined.
Add the butter pieces, and cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens slightly and registers 170°F on an instant-read thermometer, about 5 minutes.
Immediately pour the curd through a single-mesh stainless steel strainer set over a clean non-reactive bowl. Stir in the heavy cream; pour the curd into the warm crust immediately.
Bake until the filling is shiny and opaque and the center jiggles slightly when shaken, 10 to 15 minutes.
Let cool completely on a wire rack, about 2 hours, before removing the bars from the pan using the foil and cutting into squares. Dust with confectioners’ sugar before serving.
Makes 16 bars.