Also known as Lemon Bars, these sweet, buttery, tart confections are synonymous with summer. They are easy to throw together and transport which makes them perfect to take to barbecues or picnics. I’ve tried numerous variations and I prefer the creamy texture that this recipe’s filling delivers - and the shortbread-like crust absolutely melts in your mouth.
1¾ cups unbleached all-purpose flour
2/3 cup confectioners' sugar, plus extra to decorate finished bars
¼ cup cornstarch
¾ teaspoon table salt
12 tablespoons unsalted butter (1½ sticks), at very cool room temperature, cut into 1-inch pieces, plus extra for greasing pan
4 large eggs, beaten lightly
1 1/3 cups granulated sugar
3 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons grated lemon zest from 2 large lemons
2/3 cup lemon juice from 3 to 4 large lemons, strained
1/3 cup whole milk
1/8 teaspoon table salt
For the crust:
1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly butter a 13-by-9-inch baking dish and line with one sheet parchment or wax paper. Dot paper with butter, then press second sheet crosswise over it .
2. Pulse flour, confectioners’ sugar, cornstarch, and salt in food processor workbowl fitted with steel blade. Add butter and process to blend, 8 to 10 seconds, then pulse until mixture is pale yellow and resembles coarse meal, about three 1-second bursts. Sprinkle mixture into lined pan and press firmly with fingers into even, 1/4-inch layer over entire pan bottom and about 1/2-inch up sides. Refrigerate for 30 minutes, then bake until golden brown, about 20 minutes.
For the filling:
1. While the crust bakes, whisk eggs, sugar, and flour in medium bowl, then stir in lemon zest, juice, milk, and salt to blend well; set aside until crust is baked.
To finish the bars:
1. Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees. Stir filling mixture to re-blend; pour carefully into warm crust. Bake until filling feels firm when touched lightly, about 20 minutes. Transfer pan to wire rack; cool to near room temperature, at least 30 minutes.
2. Transfer to cutting board, fold paper down, and cut into serving-size bars, wiping knife or pizza cutter clean between cuts, as necessary. Sieve confectioners’ sugar over bars, if desired.