Meyer Lemon Bars

So these were part of the “Citrus Binge” I went on recently (see my other post on Minneolas Tangelo & Cardamom Cheesecake). Meyer Lemons have an almost mystical place in my  mind. Living in the UK they were harder to get hold of than here in Canada, AND when they were available they certainly didn’t last long! Needless to say when I saw them whilst shopping of course I was itching to make something from them!

I was pleasantly surprised when I got my hands on them. Scent-wise yes they evoked sun-kissed, floral dense getaway images but there was also a heady herbaceousness to their smell. It instantly brought to mind citrus-scented herbs like lemon verbena and lemon thyme- bright, sunny grass-like. Taste-wise it’s easy to see why Meyer lemons capture the imagination and have such acclaim. Think of the best homemade lemonade- just the right side of tart with enough refreshing astringency to keep you coming back for more. Yup, I was hooked.

Bars/tray-bakes have never been top of my list for “GO TO” eats. Aside from two I always pass on them- the wonderful Canuck treat that is the nanaimo bar (of which I have a few posts on this site – check them out in “Categories”) and the quintessential classic that is the Lemon Bar. The contrast between the buttery, crumbly shortbread layer and the refreshingly pucker-inducing citrus custard thickness evokes images of languid, sun-drenched picnics for me. I don’t know about you but given that I’m writing this on Day 27 of self-isolation in the Time of Covid I could definitely do with images of unbridled expanse and carefree torpor. The confinement will pass in time I know but I’m of the opinion that no matter how frivolous or trivial a distraction if it helps with our current state of sanctioned ennui then all the better.

And so here we are…

 

 

Ingredients

  • 2 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup icing sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt 
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) very cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons ice water
  • 5 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon Meyer lemon zest
  • 3/4 cup fresh Meyer lemon juice

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Grease a 9″ x 13″ baking pan and line it with parchment paper, leaving 1″ of overhang on the two long sides.
  2. In a food processor, pulse 2 cups flour, 3/4 cup powdered sugar, and salt. Add butter and pulse until mixture resembles a coarse meal. Add ice water 1 tsp at a time if mixture is too dry. Press dough into bottom of prepared pan, pressing snugly against the inside edges.
  3. Bake crust for 20-25 minutes, or until golden. Set pan on a wire rack to cool slightly. Reduce oven temperature to 300°.
  4. Whisk together eggs and granulated sugar until well combined and pale in color. Stir in lemon zest, lemon juice, remaining 1/4 cup flour, and a pinch of salt. Pour topping over warm crust. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until set.
  5. Set pan on a rack to cool. Remove squares by lifting parchment. Cut into bars. Dust liberally with icing sugar
  6. Bars are kept refrigerated and eaten within 24 hours

*If Meyer lemons are available this recipe works just as well with standard lemons. But admittedly Meyer lemons DO elevate them.

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