These simple lemon bars are slightly sweet and tart. Full of lemon flavor and sure to win your heart. We all probably have a recipe for lemon bars, or two or maybe even three recipes but these are the best I’ve ever made. Creamy Tart Lemon Bars are sure to win you praise from anyone lucky enough to have one.
CREAMY TART LEMON BARS
I was thumbing through one of my older dessert cookbooks when I read through this recipe. It sounded like a winner and it is! That was several years ago and I have made it every time the lemon bar urge hits ever since. Recently a friend brought up the request for lemon bars on several occasions, knowing I was thinking about a dessert to make. I went out to the kitchen and looked to see if I had enough lemons on hand and I did so I quick pulled up my recipe and went to work.
It wasn’t long before I had the smell of lemon throughout the kitchen. The crust is quick and easy, made in the food processor. You then dump it in a 9 X 13 pan and chill it before baking. Once I have the crust in the oven I make the filling. I use a microplane that has the fine teeth for zesting my lemons, watch carefully as you just want to use the lemon skin not any of the white pith. I use about 2 teaspoons of the zest, less if you want a lighten flavor or more if you want even more tart flavor. It’s all up to you. Two full teaspoons seems like plenty to me, too much and you will have bars with real pucker power!
When I make these for a dessert I cut the bars in squares, 12 in a 9 X 13 pan but for a group its probably best to cut them smaller, 24 in a 9 X 13 pan. Either way you will have many compliments!
CREAMY TART LEMON BARS
- 1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
- 2/3 confectioners sugar
- 3/4 tsp salt
- 1 1/2 sticks (12 tbsp) unsalted butter, at a cool room temp, cut into 1 inch pieces
- 4 large eggs, lightly beaten
- 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
- 2 tsps lemon zest
- 3 tbsp all purpose flour
- 1/8 tsp salt
- 2/3 cup lemon juice ( from 3-4 lg lemons) strained
- 1/4 cup whole milk
- 2 tbsp unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
For the crust
- Line a 9 X 13 inch baking pan with parchment paper, extending the paper up and over all sides. This helps when removing the bars from the pan. Dot the pan first with butter to keep paper in place.
- Pulse the flour, sugar and salt in food processor, using the steel blade. Add butter and blend about 10 seconds then pulse about 3 times until mixture is pale yellow and resembles coarse meal. Sprinkle the mixture in the prepared pan and press firmly with your fingers making an even layer in the bottom of the pans that goes up the sides about 1/2 inch.
- Chill crust for 30 minutes. Meanwhile heat oven to 350 degrees F. Bake crust 20-25 minutes until light golden brown.
For the filling
- In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs, sugar and zest, then whisk in the flour and salt. Stir in the lemon juice, milk and butter, blend well.
- Reduce the oven temperature to 325 degrees F when you remove baked crust from oven. Stir the filling one more time and pour onto the hot crust. Bake until the filling feels firm when touched lightly, about 20 minutes. Do not overbake.
- Transfer pan to a cooling rack and cool until almost at room temperature, about 30 minutes. Pull the long sides of the parchment paper to remove the entire bar from the pan onto a cutting board. Cut bars as desired.