Friday, January 15, 2010

Lemon Lime Bars with Graham Cracker Coconut Crust

Lemon Lime Bars
Looking at a bright yellow lemon bar almost makes you forget that it's winter outside. But it makes sense to make lemon bars in winter. Lemons are in their peak season right now.
Meyer Lemons
I live in Pennsylvania and we don't see Meyer lemons here everyday. And I'd never seen Meyer lemons before at Costco, so when I saw them packaged so carefully in the little plastic box, I grabbed them! I could figure out what to do with them after I got them safely home. Meyer lemons are a cross between a true lemon and a mandarin orange. Their hue is more orange than a "regular" lemon and they're a bit sweeter and less acidic. They're simply beautiful! My son even mistook one for an orange and tried to peel it and eat it like an orange - surprise!

The difference between these lemon bars and your typical lemon bar is that you cook the lemon custard over the stove and then bake it for only a short time in the oven instead of pouring the custard mix over the crust and baking them until they're set. The photo below gives you a good idea what the crust is like. It's crumbly and deliciously paired with the citrus. The lemon curd itself is so good you'll want to eat it straight out of the bowl with a spoon. It was so delicious, I found myself licking the strainer to get every last bit! The benefits of being alone in the kitchen when the kids are at school - I get to do all the licking! This will be my go-to recipe for citrus curd from now on. Try this recipe - you will not be disappointed!
Lemon Lime Bars


Lemon Lime Bars
from Baked: New Frontiers in Baking
*Note: you will love these lemon bars, so if you lack self control as I do and you don't want to eat the whole 9x13 pan of lemon bars, just halve the recipe and make it in an 8x8 pan.

Graham Cracker Coconut Crust
1 c. sweetened shredded coconut
2 c. graham cracker crumbs
2 T. firmly packed dark brown sugar
1 stick of unsalted butter, melted (use 5T of butter if you're cutting the recipe in half)

Lemon Lime Filling
11 large egg yolks
3 large eggs
1-3/4 c. sugar
3/4 c.fresh lemon juice
2 T fresh lime juice
2 T grated lemon zest
2 T grated lime zest
1-1/2 sticks of unsalted butter, softened and cut into small pieces
1/3 cup heavy cream

Make the Crust
1. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Butter or spray the bottom and sides of a 9x13 inch baking pan.

2. Line a baking sheet with parchment and toast the coconut until it starts to turn golden (7-10 minutes). Remove from the oven, toss the coconut and return it to the oven for 3 more minutes, or until it is nicely toasted.

3. Use a food processor to crush the graham crackers into crumbs or place the graham crackers in a zip top freezer bag and crush with a rolling pin into fine crumbs.

4. Put the graham cracker crumbs in a bowl. Using your hands, add the coconut and the brown sugar and mix well. Add the melted butter, and still using your hands, firmly press the crust into the prepared pan. Using a measuring cup as a press will help make an even crust.

5. Refrigerate the crust for 15 minutes, and then bake it for 10 minutes. Cool the crust before adding the filling.

Make the Filling

1. Increase the oven temperature to 325 degrees.

2. Mix the egg yolks, eggs, sugar, lemon and lime juices and zests in a deep clean metal pot. Cook over medium heat, whisking constantly until the mixture reaches 180 degrees. This may take 10 minutes.

3. Remove from the heat and whisk in the butter and the cream. Pour through a fine-mesh sieve directly onto the cooled crust. Make certain that you scrape the underside of the sieve to capture ALL of the filling. Tap the pan to make an even layer.

4. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, or until the filling is just set. Test for "set" by shaking the pan. When it barely wiggles, it is done. Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for a least two hours. Cut into squares.

8 comments:

  1. Beautiful. These photos are amazing...my mouth is watering!

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  2. Looks heavenly. I can't wait to try it!!

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  3. I assume when you mention ginger, which is not called for in the recipe, that you mean coconut...?

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  4. Yes, omit the parts that mention ginger- a hasty cut and paste on my part and I'm having trouble fixing the text from my iPhone! Thanks for bringing it to my attention!

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  5. I'm jealous. I wish I could find some meyer lemon right now. Maybe I'm not looking hard enough.

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  6. I am a sucker for all things lemon and your bars look fantastic. I've only made lemon bars once before, and they weren't very lemony. They had great textures and a pretty color but that was about it.

    I'm checking Costco, and if they have the meyers here, I'll give these a try.

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  7. These bars may be just as good if not better when using regular lemons. In fact, I think they might be "lemonier" so please try them even if you don't have Meyer lemons! They're wonderful!

    Deanna

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