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I got the recipe for this delicious confection from a great baking book called "The Pastry Queen". The champagne works magic on these lemon bars, giving them a luscious flavour that sets them apart from other lemon squares. The strawberry topping is the piece de resistance. Cook time does not reflect chill time.
- 1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 cups flour
- 1⁄4 teaspoon salt
- 2 fresh lemons, zest of
- 1⁄2 cup strawberry jam (optional)
- 6 large egg yolks
- 6 large eggs
- 1 3⁄4 cups sugar
- 1 cup fresh lemon juice
- 1⁄2 cup champagne or 1⁄2 cup brut sparkling wine
- 3⁄4 cup chilled unsalted butter
- 1 pint fresh strawberries, hulled
- 1⁄2 cup sugar
- To make the crust, preheat the oven to 375°F Coat a 9x13-inch baking pan with cooking spray.
- Using a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar in a large bowl about 3 minutes, until creamy.
- Add the flour, salt and zest. Beat just until incorporated.
- Press the dough evenly into prepared pan. Bake for 12-15 minutes until golden brown.
- Let cool about 10 minutes. Spread the jam evenly over the cooled crust.
- Leave oven at 350°F.
- Whisk the egg yolks for the filling with the eggs, sugar, lemon juice and champagne in a large bowl set over a pan of simmering water. (make sure the water does not touch the bottom of the bowl).
- Cook about 15 minutes, whisking occasionally, until the mixture thickens. Cut the cold butter into bite sized pieces.
- Whisk the butter, one piece at a time into the lemon mixture. Cook about 10 minutes longer, whisking occasionally. The mixture will be thick and puddinglike.
- Pour the fillng over the prepared crust and bake for 10-12 minutes. Refrigerate the bars at least 2 hours over overnight. (If you are in a hurry they will get sufficiently cold after 1 hour in the freezer).
- Slice the strawberries thinly and arrange them in a single layer over the top of the lemon filling. Sprinkle the sugar evenly over top of the berries.
- Use a kitchen torch to melt the sugar until it is brown and crackly, or put the bars under a hot broiler for about 1 minute, until the sugar melts and browns. Watch carefully.
Wonderful. The best lemon bars ever. So good I had to buy the Pastry Queen cookbook to test her other recipes.
Okay, these are out of this world! As soon as I saw the recipe I knew I had to try it and I'm not sorry I did. Excellent instructions and what a beautiful flavor and presentation! Thanks for posting this recipe!