The Dr. House of lemon bars. Did you read the title? We're not taking just the juice and zest here, there's an entire acerbic lemon inside these babies. And, after hearing a song that I haven't heard in years, I think at least some of my lemon adoration can be explained. Excited? Thought so. :D
Among the numerous records that my mother played as I was growing up, my favourites were those by Neil Diamond, The Mamas & the Papas, Joan Baez, and Peter Paul & Mary. To this day, I love them all. No one has the soothing, sultry voice of Neil Diamond, the perfect harmonization of The Mamas & the Papas, or the heartfelt ache of Joan Baez. And no song will be able to bring me to tears (even in my 30's), the way "Puff, the Magic Dragon" can. I remember my mom crying whenever she heard that song, even when I was still only six or seven. When I asked her why she was crying, she said 'because of time, and how quickly it passes, and how fast you're growing up." You can imagine how traumatizing it was when my sister and I started college.
That first year of college, I made sure that my CD collection included all of the artists I grew up with. On one particularly stormy, spring evening, while
One of my favourite recipes, ever, is Dorie Greenspan's tartest lemon tart. Why? Because it calls for the entire lemon--juice, zest, skin...everything! It's every lemon lovers paradise. So when I saw this recipe, which also calls for the entire lemon, of course I had to make it. Now I know that some of you may be sick of lemon this, and lemon that, especially of lemon bars in general. But these babies are a step...nay, a leap, up from all the rest. They're lemon x 100, lemon on speed, lemon with no apologies, the Dr. House of lemons. Because of that, they're not for everyone. Only the hard-core lemon head will find these irresistible. Others may be turned off by their twangy, tart, almost-bitter aftertaste. But, fellow lemon worshipers, you will fall head over heels in love after one bite, and you may not want to ever go back to those other sweet, demure bars.
The poor "Lemon Tree" lemons would have been more than happy to be reincarnated into this recipe.
Whole Lemon Bars (adapted from David Lebovitz)
1 cup flour
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons (that's 1 stick) of melted unsalted butter
1/4 teaspoon of pure almond extract
1 lemon, organic or unsprayed
1 cup sugar
3 tablespoons of freshly squeezed lemon juice
3 large eggs, room temperature
4 teaspoons corn starch
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons of melted, unsalted butter
Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Line an 8-inch square pan with foil, leaving a slight overhang around the edges. Lightly spray and set aside.
Prepare the crust: In a medium bowl, mix the flour, sugar, salt, melted butter, and almond extract. Stir just until the lumps are gone (try not to over-mix.)
Smooth the batter into the bottom of the prepared pan. Use lightly floured hands to press in into an even layer as possible.
Bake the crust for 20- 25 minutes, or until just beginning to turn golden brown. Prepare the filling as the crust bakes.
Filling: Slice the lemon in half, remove the seeds, and cut the lemon into chunks (don't worry about making them uniform.)
Put the chunks in a food processor or blender along with the sugar and lemon juice, and let it run until the lemon is completely broken up. Add the eggs, corn starch, salt, and melted butter. Blend until almost smooth. (It's ok to have a few visible bits of lemon.)
When the crust comes out of the oven, reduce the heat of the oven to 300ºF.
Pour the lemon filling over the hot crust and bake for 20- 25 minutes, or just until the filling stops jiggling and is barely set.
Remove from the oven, place on a cooling rack, and let cool completely.
Once cool, use the foil overhang to gently lift the bars out of the pan. Cut the bars into squares or rectangles. Sift powdered sugar over the top just before serving, if desired.