Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Lemon Bars

by Ann

In grade school Social Studies class we learned about the 5 C’s that Arizona’s economy was dependent upon and known for:  cattle, copper, climate, cotton, and citrus.  Little did I know then that the neighborhood I would live in as an adult was a “retired” citrus grove.  Things have changed a lot in the state's economy since then (I hate to admit how many decades ago that was), but since I’m living in the former grove, we have lots of citrus to figure out what to do with this time of year.

We have two orange, a grapefruit, a lime and a lemon tree in our yard.  Our HOA (Home Owners Association) agreement requires a minimum number of citrus trees that need to be maintained in each yard, depending upon the size of the lot.  With that said, after fourteen years of living here, I have yet to see the citrus-counting-police in anyone’s yard making sure that as the old trees die they are replaced with new citrus.

It seems like every time I turn around I need to be bringing a snack or dessert to an event.  Don’t get me wrong – I love having events to go to – especially if they include homemade food!  Due to our abundance of citrus I have made these lemon bars four times in the last two or three weeks.  

The only “trick” to this recipe is in using the heavy duty foil to be able to lift the baked bars easily out of the pan.  Use plenty of spray and the foil with lift out of the pan with no worries.

Be sure to spray the pan and then again the foil to insure easy removal of the baked bars.
When done the filling will be set.  Don't be surprised if you see a couple of bubbles in it like pictured above.

Lemon Bars
1 c flour
1/8 t salt
½ c powdered sugar
1 stick butter, melted, but not hot

2 large eggs
¾ c granulated sugar
1 ½ T flour
6 T juice fresh lemon juice
2 t finely grated lemon zest

Adjust oven rack to lower middle position and heat the oven to 320 degrees.
Spray an 8 x 8” pan with cooking spray.  Fit an 8 x 16” piece of heavy duty aluminum foil across the bottom and up two of the sides of the pan.  Spray the foil again with cooking spray.
In a separate bowl, mix the flour, salt, and powdered sugar.  Add the melted butter to form a dough.
Press the dough into the bottom of the pan with your fingers or the flat end of a glass.
Bake the crust until golden; about 20 minutes.

While the pastry bakes, whisk eggs, sugar, remaining flour, lemon juice, and zest in a bowl.
When pastry is done, remove pan from oven,  add lemon mixture, and continue to bake until just set, about 20 minutes longer.

Cook in pan for a few minutes, and then using foil handles, pull bars from pan and set on a wire rack.  Cool unit room temperature.  Cut into squares and serve. 

Although lemon bars in the pic above look nice with the dusting of powdered sugar, the sugar melts into the bars within minutes! Lesson learned, but it does look great for a short time!

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