During the summer and into the fall, my family always seemed to have an abundance of lemon bars around the house, and my mother made the best I’ve ever had. The slight salt of the crust coupled with the sweet and sour of the lemon curd was a meditation on opposites that resonated deeply with me, even then. I remember thinking, with each successive bite, “How in the hell did she do that?” It was like a form of magic, and I wanted so badly to emulate that. Truth be told, it was the lemon bar that awakened that curious seeker within me, all those years ago, so I absolutely could not leave it out of my collection. Hopefully these will have the same impact on your taste buds as they do on mine.
Although this recipe calls for Meyer lemons, which have a thinner skin and sweeter juice than regular lemons, you can use regular lemons for an equally mouthwatering result.
Position an oven rack in the center of the oven.
For the crust: In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter together with the brown sugar until light and fluffy. Add the rest of the dry ingredients and beat until the mixture resembles small peas. Add the eggs and beat until the dough folds in on itself.
Spray your hands with nonstick cooking spray and press the dough into the prepared pan until even.
For the lemon curd: While the crust is baking, in a medium stainless-steel saucepan, combine the sugar and cornstarch. Stir with a whisk to blend. Whisk in the eggs and lemon juice until very smooth. Add the lemon zest and the butter. Set the saucepan over a medium flame. Stirring constantly, cook the curd just until it boils. Whisk vigorously and then remove from the heat, about 10 seconds.
Remove the hot crust from the oven and immediately pour the hot lemon curd onto it. Smooth the top and return to the oven;
Store in an airtight container in a cool, dry place for up to 3 days.
© 2010 All rights reserved. Published by Chronicle Books.