Recently, I was at conference with some friends and we were provided a catered lunch. For dessert there were two options: a fudge brownie and a lemon bar. I choose the lemon bar.
One of my friends said “of course you would pick the lemon bar.”
This stuck with me. What was it about me that gravitated towards the lemon bar? Maybe I wanted something light and refreshing as spring is in the air?
That particular lemon bar was horrible. The crust was bland, white and almost raw. The “lemon” filling did not taste like lemon and I regretted my decision.
I got home and realized I’ve never made my own lemon bars, so I got to work. I attempted 3 different crusts and 3 different fillings before I settled on this recipe.
There were a few things I was aiming for when creating this recipe:
-a crunchy crust (start with cold butter)
-strong lemon flavor (lots of fresh lemon juice and zest)
-my own twist on this classic (a raspberry swirl-I used a squeeze bottle to help with this)
I set out for the grocery store were they had raspberries on sale and it hit me! Raspberry lemon bars! Duh!! What better way to enhance the tart acidic notes of the lemon, then with a raspberry!
Here is my recipe:
Makes 24 bars
Prep: 30 minutes Bake: 45 minutes
1 1/2 sticks cold unsalted butter
2 cups all purpose flour
1/3 cup brown sugar
pinch of salt
3 whole eggs + 3 egg yolks
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/3 cup all purpose flour
1 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
zest of one large lemon
6 ounces fresh raspberries
1/3 cup sugar
3 tablespoons water
1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Combine 1 1/2 sticks butter, 2 cups AP flour, brown sugar and pinch of salt in bowl of Kitchen Aid mixer. Mix with paddle attachment until sand like mixture forms.
2. Press the mixture into a 9 by 13 inch pan. Bake for 20 minutes.
3. Make filling by combining the eggs, lemon juice and zest and sugar in a bowl. Sift in the 1/3 cup AP flour. Mix well.
4. To make the raspberry coulis heat 3 tablespoons water and 1/3 sugar in sauce pan. Mix until sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat and add in the raspberries. Place in a blender. Pulse until smooth. Pour mixture over a fine mesh strainer to remove the seeds.
5. Remove crust from oven and pour in the lemon mixture. Next, swirl in the raspberry coulis. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until filling sets. Remove from oven and allow to cool before cutting into equal pieces.
6. Enjoy 🙂