Tuesday, May 29, 2012
In search of the perfect lemon bar . . .
This one by Ina Garten comes within striking distance, but I'm not all that fond of the thick crusty top. Overall, though . . . pretty divine. I think I'm looking for a recipe that doesn't have that crusted top, but also doesn't have that odd foamy effect at the top that requires the dusting of confectioner's sugar to disguise. I believe this recipe avoids that foamy top by using a larger amount of flour in the recipe, which seems to kind of float to the top in the way that Bisquick Impossible Pies works.
smitten kitchen suggests a few changes, including a variation for making a thinner lemon layer. I like the thicker lemon layer, but I wanted a thicker shortbread also, which proved to be harder than just doubling the recipe. I don't like the lemon layer to seep underneath the shortbread at the edges, so I doubled the shortbread recipe and built up the sides, but alas, as in the original, the sides tended to s-l-i-d-e down while baking. What to do? I think . . . though I haven't tried it yet . . . the solution lies in the recipe for pie crust I followed the other day, which was to bake the shortbread with an aluminum foil liner and plenty of pie weights (or dried beans). I'll just have to try it again. Too bad for me.
My tips, besides the pie weights for the shortbread (which can't really be a tip since I haven't tried it yet . . .)
1) Line the pan with non-stick aluminum foil (both ends) to simplify getting them out of the pan and cutting.
2) Allow to completely cool and refrigerate, preferably several hours, before attempting to cut them. It might even help to put them in the freezer for a bit if you're in a hurry.
3) Dust confectioner's sugar on them after they are completely cooled. If not having them
right away, you might wait until just before serving to dust as the bars will absorb the sugar over time.
In the meantime . . . still looking for the most perfect recipe.