Lemon Bars

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When I moved to Lausanne for a student exchange last winter, the university paired me with a Swiss student who showed me around town and helped me settle in. Falonne, my “marraine”, spent the past few months in San Francisco for an internship. While living in the foodie city, she tasted some delectable morning pastries at Tartine bakery.

This recipe is from Tartine’s first cookbook. These bright lemon bars bring a touch of sunny California to your kitchen. Citrus seems like the ideal ingredient for January, when the sun is slow to rise. The tart lemon custard is set on a crispy brown butter shortbread crust. Lemon lovers, rejoice! I’ve finally posted a recipe featuring this yellow fruit, and I promise it was worth the wait. The tangy bars are not bitter or too sweet. The freshly squeezed lemon juice and zest result in a bold taste that pairs so well with the buttery, golden brown shortbread. As a finishing touch, dust the tops of the bars with confectioners’ sugar.

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Bon appétit!

Recipe Source: Tartine

Yields twelve 3 x 3 1/4″ bars (those are pretty large, you can also slice them into 24 small bars)

Ingredients:
•crust
55g (1/2 cup) confectioners’ sugar
215g (1 1/2 cups) all-purpose flour
170g (3/4 cup) unsalted butter
55g (1/2 cup) pine nuts (optional) (I did not use any.)
•filling
70g (1/2 cup) all-purpose flour
1 pound (455g, 2 1/4 cups) sugar
280ml (1 cup + 2 tbsp.) lemon juice (about 5-6 lemons)
grated lemon zest from 1 small lemon
6 eggs
1 egg yolk
pinch of salt

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Instructions:
•crust
1) Preheat the oven to 350F.
2) Butter a 9×13″ baking pan and line it with parchment paper.
3) In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, sift the confectioners’ sugar.
4) Mix in the flour.
5) Add the butter (and pine nuts if you opt to use them), beating on low speed until the dough becomes smooth.
6) Transfer the dough to the prepared pan. Press the dough evenly into the bottom of the pan and 1/2 inch up the sides. The dough should be 1/4 inch thick.
7) Line the crust with parchment paper and use pie weights to keep it in place.
8) Bake the crust for 25 to 35 minutes, until it reaches a golden brown colour.
•filling
1) Sift the flour into a bowl.
2) Whisk in the sugar until incorporated.
3) Add the lemon juice and zest, stir until the sugar dissolves.
4) In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs, egg yolk and salt together.
5) Add the eggs to the lemon mixture, whisking until combined.
6) Once the crust is ready, open the oven door. Pour the filling into the hot pan. If you’ve already removed the crust from the oven and let it cool, simply put the baking pan back in the oven for a few minutes so that the crust is hot when you pour the filling over it.
7) Reduce the oven temperature to 300F and bake for 30 to 40 minutes, until the center of the custard is no longer wobbly.
8) Transfer the baking pan to a wire rack and let cool completely.
9) Cover the baking pan with plastic wrap and let chill.
10) Use a sharp knife and slice into 12 bars.

Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days.

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