At the start of the new year, I always crave citrus flavors. I think it’s due in part to all the heavy holiday foods and flavors: spices, chocolate, gingerbread, pumpkin. People always want to start eating better, cleaner food in January, and if I’m going to have dessert, I want treats that taste fresh and vibrant.
Luckily, winter is prime citrus season and one of my favorite zingy desserts is lemon bars. They’re so tart and buttery, and they look so beautiful, with their golden lemon curd and a dusting of snowy powdered sugar. You can actually make them using any citrus fruit and they taste equally amazing. Each variety brings a unique zing and right now, we have a huge basket of limes from our lime tree. So I pulled out my favorite lemon bar recipe, swapped out the lemons for limes, and no one can get enough of them! They are just a little more mouth-puckering than lemon bars, with that wonderful, tropical lime flavor. Make a batch with your favorite citrus fruit and bring a little winter sunshine to your tastebuds!
Click through for ingredients and instructions…
1 1/4 cups flour
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
12 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 12 equal pieces and softened
7 large egg yolks
2 large eggs
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
2/3 cup fresh-squeezed citrus juice
1/4 cup fresh citrus zest (zest your fruit before you juice them)
3 tablespoons heavy cream
Preheat oven to 350°F. Line an 8- or 9-inch square pan with foil, leaving enough hanging over the sides that you’ll be able to lift the bars out using it. Spray the foil generously with nonstick spray, and set aside. In a food processor or stand mixer, combine flour, powdered sugar and salt, then add 8 Tablespoons of softened butter. Blend just until mixture gets sandy. Press firmly into the bottom of the prepared pan, and bake until golden, about 20 minutes. Meanwhile, combine egg yolks and whole eggs in a nonreactive saucepan. Whisk in sugar, then citrus juice, zest, and a pinch of salt. Add remaining 4 Tablespoon butter and cook over medium-low heat until mixture thickens slightly and heats to a temperature of 170°F. Strain mixture into a nonreactive bowl and stir in cream. Pour warm citrus curd over hot crust. Bake until curd is set and jiggles only slightly, 10 to 15 minutes. I baked mine in an 8-inch pan and went for the full 15 minutes, and they were the perfect consistency. Let cool completely on a wire rack before removing from pan and cutting. Serve dusted with lots of powdered sugar. Serves 9.
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