Prep 30 mins
Cook 1 hr 30 mins
I found a recipe online for lemon bars the other day, but it turned out that the recipe was just wrong. I knew I should have used my creme brulee making sensibilities from the start, but your first instinct is to trust a recipe, especially when it's for a dish you've never made before. Sometimes it takes a botched attempt get a great recipe in the end. Well, here is my new recipe for lemon bars, based on my recipe for creme brulee. Made it this weekend and it turned out great! I'd bet this would be good with key lime juice as well.
- 1⁄2 cup unsalted butter
- 1⁄2 cup powdered sugar
- 1⁄4 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 cup flour
- 1 1⁄4 cups half-and-half or 1 1⁄4 cups cream
- 6 egg yolks
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 3⁄4 cup lemon juice
- 1⁄3 cup coconut flakes (optional)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare a glass 8" square pan by lining it with baking parchment.
- Put the stick of butter in a small skillet and melt about halfway over medium-low heat.
- Combine the butter and powdered sugar in a food processor.
- Add the baking powder and flour. Resulting mixture should be crumbly.
- Press into the bottom of the pan. Make small holes in the crust with a fork. Bake for 15-20 minutes.
- Meanwhile, warm the cream in a small saucepan over medium or medium-low heat. You want it to be heated, but do not allow it to come to a boil.
- In a large bowl, beat the egg yolks until lighter in color. Add the sugar and beat until combined with eggs.
- Slowly add the lemon juice as you whisk or beat the eggs. When cream is hot, add slowly to the egg mixture while continuing to whisk or beat the eggs.
- Reduce the oven temperature to 300 degrees, once crust is removed.
- Pour custard mixture over crust. Return to the oven. Bake for 25-30 minutes at 300.
- Remove pan and sprinkle coconut over the top of the custard.
- Reduce temperate again to 275 degrees. Bake another 30-60 minutes until custard is set. Wiggle the pan and if the custard still seems to have a liquid-like slosh, return to the oven. Custard is set when it only has a pudding-like jiggle. Refrigerate at least two hours before serving.
I followed this recipe to a T. I hate to say it, but it's a big failure.<br/>After two hours total cook time in the oven, the custard still hasn't set, and it is quite tart - too tart to really be enjoyably eaten just on its own.<br/>Perhaps it would have set if thickened cream were used, or if the custard had been precooked a bit on the stove before pouring over the base.<br/>In the way of flavour, it needs something to cut through the acidity of the lemon in my opinion. It's got a lovely and rich, intense buttery-lemon tartness to it, and the coconut is a nice touch, but could really do with some meringue or light cream - something sweet and light to balance the flavour.
I found quite a few flaws in this recipe, sadly. The bars had to cook for almost three hours before they were not so jiggly, so the crust was hard as a rock. Even with the parchment paper they were difficult to get out of the pan. Sorry, Sarah!