*Oh yes, another disclaimer*
I made these way back in 2010, but due to the insanity that was trying to figure out both new years and the remnants of culture shock, they were left to the wayside, at least on the internet. But what else is new…Where to begin? I guess the first thing would be to note that this is my first post back in the US! I got home last week three weeks ago, though it feels like much longer. It’s strange being back, to say the least. Everything about home is so familiar, but at the same time it feels weird. Eating the food I like (which extends beyond pasta with tomato sauce and/or vegetables in this country), watching TV (eh), walking around my neighborhood; if you think about it, it was only three and a half months ago that I was doing this exact same thing, but now with a completely different perspective. Buildings are so shiny, everything is lit up, and there are WAY too many choices of food! Granted, I did come home during the holiday season and I live in a city where you can get virtually everything and anything, but it doesn’t negate how differently I view it all.
So in the efforts of getting adjusted, naturally I decided to give baking, probably my favorite and most-missed hobby, a go. While I was ecstatic to be home, the downside of mine (comprised of my mum, my sister and I) is that I am the only one who likes not just chocolate, but deserts in general. The two of them will occasionally try whatever I churn out of our kitchen, though only after telling me how much of a mess I’ve made (hey, it’s a small kitchen). So I tried appealing to my mum’s palate, which goes for anything with citrus, and since that’s about the best fruit around this time of year, lemon bars were the logical thing to do. Logic being a relative term. I thought these were pretty good, as did my family, though when I tasted the curd, I found it to be a bit on the sweet side, so I added in a bit of the leftover zest and juice (1/2 tsp and 1/4 cup, respectively). I found that once baked, it wasn’t as much of a problem (and that there was some serious lemon zing going on), but if you don’t like things on the super-sweet side, maybe do only 2 or 2 and 1/4 cups sugar.
Very, very slightly adapted from Smitten Kitchen
1/2 pound unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 cups flour
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
6 extra-large eggs at room temperature
2 1/4 cups granulated sugar
2 tablespoons grated lemon zest (4 to 6 lemons)
1 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 cup flour
Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting
Preheat the oven to 350°F and grease a 9 by 13 by 2-inch baking sheet.
For the crust, cream the butter and sugar until light in the bowl of an electric mixer. Combine the flour and salt and, with the mixer on low, add to the butter until just mixed. Dump the dough onto a well-floured board and gather into a ball. Flatten the dough with floured hands and press it into the greased baking sheet, building up a 1/2-inch edge on all sides. Chill. Wait five or so minutes for it to cool a bit.
Bake the crust for 15 to 20 minutes, until very lightly browned. Let cool on a wire rack (I did not do this, I gave it a couple of minutes before pouring in the lemon curd). Leave the oven on.
For the lemon layer, whisk together the eggs, sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice, and flour. If you want that extra bit of lemon, you can add in a few tablespoons of the juice and a few pinches of zest, if you’ve got them. Pour over the crust and bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or about five minutes beyond the point where the filling is set. Let cool to room temperature.
Cut into squares and dust with confectioners’ sugar.
You can serve them at room temperature or, if you’re like me, chilled. If you do decide to chill them, wait until just before serving to dust with the sugar.