The lemon bars are delicious desserts composed of a shortcrust pastry base and a lemon cream filling, as a concept, they are a derivation of the classic lemon tart. Nothing exceptional, therefore, there are no particular difficulties in preparing these lemon desserts, even if the interesting thing is that by cutting them in the shape of squares, they can already be served in single portions, obviously well dusted with icing sugar. In this way, you can serve them as sweet finger food for an exquisite snack or even for an informal dinner with friends.
In any case, if you prepare these classic lemon bars, be careful of the pastry, if you do it by hand, work it quickly, so as not to heat the butter too much: if you have a mixer, even if not too powerful or brand new, it is always better to use it to optimize this delicate operation, the rest of the lemon bars recipe is a cakewalk, we’ve made much more difficult desserts together.
Ingredients and doses to make the perfect lemon bars
For 30 lemon bars, a 28 X 28 cm pan
- 300 grams of flour
- 90 grams of sugar
- 3 organic lemons, untreated
- a pinch of salt
- 250 grams of butter
For the filling of the lemon bars: lemon cream
- 8 eggs
- 200 grams of sugar
- 110 grams of flour
- 3 grams of salt
- 200 ml of lemon juice
How to make lemon bars
Immediately line a baking sheet with parchment paper, we used a baking tray of 28 X 28, but it depends on how thick you want the pastry. Honestly, these lemon bars should not be too thin, otherwise, they risk crumbling once you take them in your hand, and then it is right that you feel the thickness of the pastry.
How to make shortcrust pastry for the base of lemon bars
Let’s start immediately with the preparation of the shortcrust pastry: wash the lemons and grate them and put the peel in a large bowl, sift the flour still inside the bowl, add the salt, and mix. Add the butter cut into small pieces and taken out of the fridge 20 minutes earlier. Pay attention to the temperature of the butter, it must be soft, but not liquefied, it would be a tragedy since it must soak in flour until it forms large flakes. If you want to add a drop of tequila or a few drops of vanilla or even rose water feel free to experiment as you wish.
For the preparation of lemon bars, you do not need to make a perfectly blended shortcrust pastry, a grainy texture fits, making the dessert more rustic and “crumbly” once cooked.
Cooking the shortcrust pastry
So, we said work the pastry quickly and when the butter is blended and the dough has absorbed all the flour, flatten the pastry on the bottom of the lined pan and compact well. Put the pan in the refrigerator for 1 hour, then cover with parchment paper, put the weights on top, and cook for 20 minutes at 180 degrees in a static oven.
How to make lemon cream from lemon bars
Now let’s prepare the lemon cream to fill the pastry. Break the eggs into a bowl, add the sugar and mix vigorously with a whisk. If you have a planetary mixer even better: you will make less effort and the result will be infinitely better.
In another bowl, sift the flour and season with salt, then add it little by little to the egg and sugar mixture. Continue to work to whip the mixture well and eliminate any possible lump of flour.
As soon as the pastry is cooked, take it out of the oven and remove the paper and weights and submerge it with the lemon cream. Roll it out well, helping you with a spoon to level it to perfection.
Cooking lemon bars: temperature and times
Set the oven to 160 degrees and cook the lemon bars for 20 minutes. To understand if the lemon cream is cooked, move the pan, and if it is very liquid then cook again. The center always remains softer, but the sides near the edge must become solid. Depending on the oven, cooking could take up to 30 minutes. Check the consistency of the cream well, if it is not well cooked it is inedible.
When the lemon tart is cooked, take it out of the oven and let it cool for two hours, then remove it from the pan by lifting the parchment paper and placing it in the refrigerator, covered to prevent the cream from drying out.
After 3 hours in the refrigerator, cut to make squares of lemon tart and sprinkle with icing sugar.
If you want to make a gluten-free recipe, lemon bars are also excellent if made with corn or rice flour or a mixture of 50% and 50% of the two.
Which wine to pair with lemon bars?
A sparkling Asti is a perfect wine for these lemon sweets: it has bubbles, freshness, and scents of citrus and sage in abundance, which marry beautifully together. If you want an even sweeter wine, you can also combine an Albana di Romagna passito or a Zibibbo. Delicious even if served with liqueur wines and spirits: Also excellent sweet vermouth, port wine, Marsala, Madeira wine, Sherry, Brandy, Cognac, and Calvados.
If you want to pair a cocktail, the complex taste of the Pina Colada is perfect.