I’m going on 5 years here in northern California, and I’m gettin’ pretty used to the California lifestyle. I love how every town has a weekly farmer’s market. If you miss market day, there’s always a roadside stand that sells local fruit, vegetables, honey, olives and nuts daily. I love that when the rest of the country was covered in snow and ice a few weeks ago, we were sittin’ pretty at a sunny 65° (we still are, by the way—don’t be jealous). But my favorite thing about California? CITRUS! This is the time of year when the citrus trees are bursting with fruit. Everyone is sharing bags of oranges, clementines, lemons, Meyer lemons, grapefruit and pomelos from their backyards. I felt like the luckiest Texan alive last week when I received a bag of home-grown Meyer lemons! I got to baking as fast as I could. Here’s my first creation. If you can’t find Meyer lemons, regular lemons are just fine.
Yields 2 bars 4.5" x 2.5" each.
- FOR THE SHORTBREAD CRUST:
- 6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter
- 1/4 cup powdered sugar
- 3/4 cup flour
- pinch of salt
- FOR THE LEMON CURD:
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon packed lemon zest
- 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1 large egg
- 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 tablespoon flour
- powdered sugar for sprinkling
- Preheat the oven to 350°. The best pan for these bars is a glass bread loaf pan measuring 9” x 5” x 3”. If you only have a metal loaf pan, line the pan very well with parchment paper. You do not want the acidic lemon curd to touch the sides of the metal pan.
- First, make the shortbread crust: In a medium bowl, add all crust ingredients. Use your fingers to rub the butter into the flour, sugar and salt. You should have a coarse meal. Press this mixture into the bottom of the loaf pan firmly. Bake for 25 minutes, or until the edges are slightly browned and the top is not wet to the touch.
- Once you remove the pan from the oven, you may then start making your filling. (Do not make the filling ahead of time and let it sit---eggs and lemon juice aren't the best of friends at times). In a small bowl, beat together the granulated sugar, lemon juice, lemon zest and egg. Beat this mixture very well until it becomes frothy--about 1 minute.
- Beat in the baking powder and flour until no lumps remain. Pour this mixture over the crust that has been cooling. Return the pan to the oven for another 20-23 minutes, or until the filling is set. Immediately remove the bars from the loaf pan and allow to cool before dusting with powdered sugar and cutting into bars.