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Lemon bars

July 6, 2009

After years of trial and error, I believe I have perfected the lemon bar:

For the crust:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup butter, room temperature
1/2 cup powdered sugar, sifted
pinch of salt

For the custard:
scant 1/2 cup flour
2 and 1/4 cups granulated sugar
1 cup plus 2 tbsp lemon juice
grated zest from 2 lemons
6 large eggs, room temperature
pinch of salt

1. Find someone who has a Meyer lemon tree, and make friends with that person. Convince said lemon-tree friend to give you lemons, and use them in this recipe.

2. Preheat the oven to 350º F. Butter a 9 x 13 inch baking pan, line it with parchment, and butter it again. (The parchment makes it easier to get the bars out of the pan, especially if you’re serving them all at once.)

3. Make the crust. Combine the flour, sugar, butter and salt by hand or in a mixer. It’s okay to overwork it a little, but don’t go crazy. Press it evenly into the bottom of your pan and gently, shallowly poke it all over with a fork.

4. Bake the crust until it reaches a nice, deep golden color. Resist the urge to take it out early.

5. Meanwhile, make the custard. Whisk together the flour, sugar, zest and juice. Be thorough so the sugar will dissolve. In a separate bowl, beat the eggs well with the salt. Then, mix the eggs in with the lemon juice mixture and whisk again.

6. When the crust is deep golden, and not before, pour the custard on top of the crust. Reduce the oven temperature to 300º F, and bake until the custard is just set in the center. Let cool on a wire rack, dust with powdered sugar, and enjoy.

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