Meyer Lemon Bars
December 22, 2013
Deb Donahue was here! She found some time in her busy schedule of prop styling famous cookbooks to come over and help me shoot some more photos. Deb is part of Dorie Greenspan’s photo Dream Team, having styled In My French Kitchen and Baking, She wanted lemon bars, even provided the Meyer lemons. And Deb should get what Deb wants!
Luckily, I just finished perfecting my shortbread recipe for the class I had to cancel last week because of a snowstorm. So it was great to have a use for all of the eggs, butter, and sugar piled in the fridge and pantry.
I’m at that age where things don’t intimidate me as much, so I can be casual around famous prop stylists, as I fumble with my new tripod, juggle making bread, soup, and lemon bars for lunch and pretend to know what I’m doing with a tethered capture.
Now, my silliness stands in stark contrast to the happenings just outside the kitchen window. For, as Deb and I squeeze lemons, chat about eBay finds, and show off (that would be me) plates and baking dishes, Poor Lewis is digging a 3 foot trench to bury the 200 amp electric cable out to The Coop, so that I may realize all of my expanded cooking school dreams. At least the temperature rose to the occasion – but also made it a muddy mess.
Meyer Lemon Bars
1 cup butter plus 2 tablespoons, softened
2/3 cup confectioner’s sugar, plus more for dusting
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 eggs, at room temperature
2 cups granulated sugar (use 2 1/2 cups, if using regular lemons)
2 tablespoons grated Meyer lemon zest (from 4-6 Meyer lemons)
1 cup freshly squeezed Meyer lemon juice
1/2 cup flour
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9 by 13 by 2-inch baking pan with foil and butter the bottom and sides with 2 tablespoons butter.
2. For the shortbread, beat the cup of butter, confectioner’s sugar, and vanilla extract in a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, until light and creamy. Add the flour and salt and beat to combine. Press the batter into the bottom of the baking dish in an even layer. Bake for 15 minutes, until dry on the top, but not browned.
3. For the topping: While the shortbread is baking, whisk together the eggs, granulated sugar, lemon zest, and lemon juice. Add the flour and whisk until combined. Remove the shortbread from the oven and pour the lemon mixture into the baking pan. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until set but not browned. Let cool before removing from the pan and slicing. Dust with confectioner’s sugar and serve. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
One can’t live on lemon bars alone. So I made a Butternut Squash, Chestnut, and Pear Soup with Orange. Delicious, if I do say so myself (my students know I’m not shy about something I’m proud of; humility is a rare occurrence, usually when something has caught on fire). The sun was setting, apropos for the shortest day off the year, and I want to do more shots of the completed soup, therefore I’ll leave it and the recipe until next week. See you then.