We’ve a delightful neighbor who lives just next door to us. Though we hardly know A, we often see her walking her beautiful full sized French poodle, Sophie. Occasionally A dog-sits for a tiny Chihuahua. It’s so cute seeing the huge, well behaved fluffy dog with the almost microscopic hyperactive one! At least Sophie is well behaved when we’re alone. When we’re walking Clarence, it’s quite another story! They’re both out of control while together. Fortunately, we’ve had no bloodshed… yet.
A is on my mind lately because she periodically leaves us various kinds of fresh produce. Her brother has a country home somewhere on the California Central Coast. Apparently he lives there full time and tends a large garden that does well. Occasionally, A leaves us bags of fresh tomatoes, Japanese eggplant or whatever. The other day she left a large Christmas bag of freshly picked lemons with a charming holiday note and a bottle of sauvignon blanc. That’s very kind!
Christmas and lemons do somehow go together though I’ll spare you further comment on that. Holiday time makes me think of desserts. My parents celebrate the traditional X-mas meal with a table full of savory dishes and another table equally full of desserts. The family focus is always on the latter. Naturally A’s gift made me think of lemon bars.
I’ve never actually made these before so I turned to the trusty New Joy of Cooking for this recipe.
Neighborly Lemon Bars
1 ½ cups flour
¼ cup powdered sugar
12 tbsp chilled butter (1 ½ sticks)
3 cups sugar
Zest of one lemon
1 cup lemon juice (it took all of A’s lemons, so about eight)
½ cup flour
Preheat oven to 325 F.
Using a food processor on the “dough” setting, mix crust ingredients together until it has the consistency of “small peas.” Press the dough into a 13”x9” baking dish. Be sure to cover the sides nearly an inch up to hold the filling. Bake crust for 30 to 40 minutes until a golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool slightly.
Lower oven temperature to 300 F.
Beat eggs into sugar. Mix in lemon zest and juice. Sift flour into lemon filling and mix until completely blended. Pour over crust. Bake 35 to 45 minutes until filling sets. Remove from oven. Let completely cool. Dust with powdered sugar. Cut into bars.
My cooking times are different from the New Joy. I was using my tiny oven so I guess that it just took longer.
This recipe made a lot of bars. I gave some to A, we ate some at home and I brought the rest to my office where they were devoured in a few hours.