Lemon Curd and Shortbread Bars
Finding California Meyer lemons in Vancouver in the dead of winter calls for a celebration: the kind that involves a spatula dancing around the pot to make curd. This silky smooth concoction is something I could eat by the spoonful, like Nutella. If one can resist eating the bowl clean, I would highly recommend that you lay it on a bed of shortbread and bake into luscious zesty and buttery bites. The curd can be made ahead and stored in the refrigerator or freezer. And you can use regular lemons that are readily available.
Just a couple of announcements before we get to the golden luscious bars:
- I want to invite you all beef eaters and lovers (again) to participate in February’s Kitchen Play, featuring BEEF and is fittingly sponsored by Canadian Beef. There’s still time to cook something from the menu and get a chance to win $100.
- Check out John and Stacy’s (of Creek Creek BBQ) Kickstarter project. They’re raising funds — through backers like you and me (even $5 is accepted) — to get a Cripple Creek BBQ food truck business going.
Aaaand…back to our regular programming…
Weeks ago I accidentally found some Meyer lemons at the Granville Island Market. I stopped dead in my tracks in disbelief. You’d think I won a mini lottery as my eyes bugged while picking up a bag. A lot of my California friends on Twitter talk so highly of these lemons, making me envy Kristina, who has a Meyer lemon tree in her backyard. I asked my Twitter friends what to do with 5 precious lemons and went with the popular suggestion: Meyer lemon curd. It’s so simple to make (check out Robyn’s method of making curd) that I couldn’t resist. That, and it was discussed like people were talking about liquid gold. To make the long story short: it was spoonfuls of zesty sunshine that I want to eat nonstop. I did manage to wean myself, leaving a little over 1 3/4 cups to freeze for later use.
Fast forward to Monday when I finally had time to think of what to make with them. What could be fitting for my pucker-inducing citrus curd? Then I remembered coming across a recipe Lemon Bars on Brown Butter Shortbread in the Tartine cookbook. I used the shortbread part and added oat flour instead of pine nuts — because I have a bazillion bags of oat flour. Don’t ask.
It ended up so incredibly good that I’m getting requests for more shortbread and fruit curd variations.
I love a good crust! The shortbread paired with an equal amount of lemon curd is a marriage of flavors and textures that is sure to be a keeper. Some people prefer thicker “filling”, but for the Meyer lemon curd, equal amounts, is perfect.
These bars are easy to make, so don’t even hesitate to make it. :-)
LEMON CURD AND SHORTBREAD BARS
Finding California Meyer lemons in Vancouver in the dead of winter calls for a celebration: the kind that involves a spatula dancing around the pot to make curd. This silky smooth concoction is something I could eat by the spoonful, like Nutella. If one can resist eating the bowl clean, I would highly recommend that you lay it on a bed of shortbread and bake into luscious zesty and buttery bites. The curd can be made ahead and stored in the refrigerator or freezer. And you can use regular lemons that are readily available. – Joy
Yields: one 9”x13” baking pan – about 24 slices of 2.25”x 2.2” bars
For the Lemon Curd
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 cup white granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 2 large egg yolks
- 2/3 cup fresh lemon juice
- zest of all the lemons
For the Shortbread
- ½ cup confectioner’s sugar
- 1 ½ cups all purpose flour
- 1 ½ sticks or ¾ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
- ¼ cup oat flour or ½ cup pine nuts (optional)
For the Lemon Curd
- Cream butter and sugar on medium speed in a bowl of a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment. Beat until light and fluffy. Add the eggs and yolks, and mix until combined. Pour lemon juice and mix. Resulting mixture will not be homogenous and will have butter curds – don’t worry.
- Pour into a heavy bottom pan and cook over medium heat. Stir constantly with a wooden spoon or spatula until it thickens, about 10 to 15 minutes, or until the curd reaches 170°F. Don’t allow it to boil or it will curdle. It is done when it coats the back of the spoon or spatula, and when you wipe it with your finger it will leave a trail. Transfer to clean bowl and set aside.
For the Shortbread Crust
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter a 9”x13” baking pan. Measure flour(s) into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Sift confectioner’s sugar over it and stir on low. Add butter and continue to beat on low speed until smooth dough forms.
- Transfer dough into greased pan and press evenly onto the bottom, raising the dough on the sides to about ½ inch.
- Cover crust with parchment paper and fill with pie weights. Bake for 25-35 minutes, until the crust becomes golden brown, rotating halfway through. Pull out of the oven rack and remove the parchment paper with pie filling.
Assembling Curd and Crust
Quickly pour the lemon curd directly into the hot pan. Then reduce oven temperature to 300°F. Bake crust with curd for 35 to 45 minutes, until the center of the curd is no longer wobbly and is set (but it will not become solid either). Cool completely on a wire rack. Cover and chill for 3 hours before cutting. It is best to let it set overnight for easier cutting. Use a sharp knife to cut to desired dimensions.
You can dust the tops of the bars with confectioner’s sugar. Or you can also top it with whipped cream.
Storage: Bars will keep in an airtight container for up to 4 days when refrigerated
Do Ahead: Curd can be made ahead of time, and refrigerated for a week and frozen for up to 4 months.