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Lemon bars are a favorite of mine during the summer. I love the tart freshness, especially when it’s hot outside. This recipe from the Flour Bakery cookbook is a pretty decadent version, with lots of eggs and butter, but it’s worth it. Fortunately, I brought these to a barbeque, so I wasn’t tempted to eat them all.

Lemon Bars

Shortbread

2 sticks unsalted butter

6 tablespoons (75 grams) sugar

2 tablespoons powdered sugar

1 egg yolk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 cups (160 grams) flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

Lemon Curd:

2 cups lemon juice (freshly squeezed)

1 stick butter

1/4 cup heavy cream or milk

8 eggs

4 egg yolks

2 cups (400 grams) sugar

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

To make the shortbread, cream together the butter and sugars in a mixer for 5 minutes until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg yolk and vanilla in until combined. Scrape down the bowl to make sure everything is combined.

Meanwhile, combine the flour, baking powder and salt in another bowl. Slowly add the flour mixture to the butter mixture on low speed until evenly mixed. Scrape the dough onto a piece of plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour.

To make the curd, combine the lemon juice, butter, and cream in a saucepan. Bring to just below a boil. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs and yolks and then add in the sugar. Pour a little of the lemon juice mixture into the bowl to temper the eggs and bring them up to temperature. Pour the whole mixture into the pan gradually, whisking together everything. Switch to a wooden spoon and constantly stir the mixture for 8 minutes, until it becomes thick and coats the back of the spoon. Remove from the heat and pour through a sieve to remove any solids. Stir in the salt and vanilla.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line a 9 by 11 pan with parchment paper. Roll out the dough and press into the bottom of the pan to about a 1/2 inch thickness. Bake for 20-30 minutes until it turns a light brown color. Pour in the lemon curd and bake for another 20-30 minutes until the curd sets. Refrigerate for several hours or overnight. Remove from the pan with the parchment paper and cut into squares.

Optionally, you can dust powdered sugar over the top with a sieve. Do this at the last minute though, because it will dissolve into the lemon curd. Enjoy!

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