This last Christmas, instead of gifts, I gave a few people little wooden chips I had found that offered "one homemade meal” or “one baked good” to the redeemer. I'm so glad I did. It's been fun as people turn in their chips. I get to host friends over for dinner, try new baking recipes (since I'm no baker, most every one is 'new'). All in all, a great gifting success. My mom's boyfriend, an incredibly sweet mid-western man was the recipient of one of the “baked goods” chips. He was hesitant to ask for his treat, but when finally pressed, turns out his request was something I never would have thought of... lemon bars. It's just not something that I come across a lot. Cookies, cakes, cupcakes, pie?... sure. But lemon bars? Not only had I never made them, I'm fairly certain I've never even eaten one! “Bars” of any kind are just not common 'round these parts.
But lemon bars, the man wanted, lemon bars he would get. I looked in a few of my older cookbooks and online, and came up with a bit of a hybrid recipe. I made a custardy/creamy version instead of the shiny yellow, corn syrupy kind. Only after I made them, did I realize that he was probably wanting the old fashioned, gooey, bright yellow, made in mid-Western winter sort! I haven't heard the verdict yet since I only handed them over yesterday, but I personally loved the way they came out. So rich and lemon curd-y. I did offer to make the stiffer/sweeter kind if he was disappointed. I'll just have to wait and see.
If you want to make the custardy version that I did, try these below:
Lemon Custard Bars
2 sticks room temperature butter
1/2 cup sugar
2 cups flour
1/8 tsp salt
7 large, room temperature eggs
2 1/2 cups sugar
3 tbs lemon zest
1 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 cup flour
Powdered sugar, for dusting
Crust: Cream he butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Combine the flour and salt. Slowly add butter until just mixed. Gather the dough onto a well-floured board and form into a ball. Evenly press it into a 9 x13 x 2 baking pan. Chill.
Bake at *350 for 15 to 20 minutes, until lightly browned. Leave oven on, cool pan on wire rack.
Filling: Whisk together the eggs, sugar, zest, juice and flour. Pour over crust and bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until the filling sets (if top starts to brown, top with foil). Cool to room temperature.
Cut into bars and dust with powdered sugar. Makes 20 small squares.