Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Whole Lemon Bars

I recently made these bars from the Smitten Kitchen cookbook for a big family dinner with my mom's side of the family. There are a lot of lemon dessert lover's in my family so these were well-received by all! I love the combination of a light, buttery pastry crust with tangy and creamy lemon curd. It's so summery and fresh-tasting. Not only do I love this recipe because it tastes amazing, but also because it's such a simplified way to make lemon bars. As the title suggests, you use the entire lemon all at once in this recipe - the pulp, the skin, the juice, everything. So that means no zesting, juicing, and no waste! I didn't have time to take a picture of how I served them before everyone ate dessert, but I served the squares topped with lightly sweetened fresh whipping cream, fresh blueberries and sliced strawberries. 


1 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup white sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
8 Tbsp. (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into chunks, plus extra for greasing

Lemon filling:
1 small-medium sized lemon
1 and 1/3 cups sugar
8 Tbsp. (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into chunks
4 large eggs
2  Tbsp. cornstarch
3/4 tsp. salt


Preheat the oven to 350ºF.

Line an 8-inch square pan with foil or parchment paper so that it overhangs at least two sides. Lightly butter or spray the surface of the foil with nonstick spray.

In a medium bowl, cream together the flour, sugar, salt, and butter, until a crumbly dough, that holds its shape when pinched, forms. You can also do this in a food processor by combining the flour, sugar, and salt first, then pulsing in the chunks of butter until a dough forms.

Smooth the dough into the bottom of the prepared pan, using your hands or a small offset spatula to get it as level as possible. Prick the dough all over with a fork and bake the crust for 20-25 minutes, or until it’s golden brown.

While the crust is cooking, cut the lemon in half, remove the seeds, and cut the lemon into chunks or slices.

Put the chunks of lemon (all of it, peel included!) in a food processor or blender along with the sugar and let it run until the lemon is completely broken up. Add the butter and process again until smooth. Add the eggs, corn starch, salt, and blend until almost smooth. Scrape down the sides of the processor or blender as needed.

When the crust comes out of the oven, pour the lemon filling over the hot crust and bake for 35-40 minutes or just until the filling stops jiggling and is barely set, and the top is golden brown.

Remove from the oven and let cool completely. I usually pop the pan in the fridge or freezer to speed this up! Once cool, carefully lift out the bars grasping the foil. Cut the bars into squares or rectangles. Sift powdered sugar over the top just before serving, if desired, or see my note about toppings at the top of the page.

*Recipe from Smitten Kitchen

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