Thursday, June 17, 2010

Creamy Lemon Bars

There is something about citrus that transcends all seasons. In winter it is bright and lively, and in summer it is cool and refreshing. These lemon bars are an easy variation on the traditional recipe. They are smooth and creamy and cool, perfect for a make ahead summer dessert. The sweet-tart filling is almost like a custard and is delicious all by itself, but the buttery crust underneath provides the right amount of contrasting texture.

Creamy Lemon Bars
Everyday Foods- Fresh Flavor Fast

1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup confectioner's sugar, plus more for dusting
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup all purpose flour
4 large egg yolks
1 can (14oz) sweetened condensed milk
3/4 cup fresh lemon juice, about 4 lemons
Lemon zest from two lemons

1.Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Butter an 8 inch square pan. Line with parchment paper, leaving an overhang on two sides. Butter the paper.
2. With an electric mixer on high speed, cream butter, confectioner's sugar, and salt until light and fluffy. Reduce speed to low and add flour, mix until just combined. Press dough in the bottom and 1/2 inch up the sides of prepared pan. Prick all over the bottom with a fork. Bake until lightly golden, about 15 minutes.
3. While the crust bakes, whisk together egg yolks, condensed milk, lemon juice and lemon zest until smooth.  Pour over the hot crust in pan; return to oven and bake until filing is just set, 25-30 minutes. Cool completely in pan.
4. Refrigerate, covered, until filling is firm, about 2 hours.  Using paper overhang lift bars onto a cutting board. Cut in 2 inch squares. Dust with confectioner's sugar just before serving.

These bars could be made in mini cheesecake pans for individual desserts, or you could use lime juice and zest to change up the flavors. Although tradtional lemon bars are hard to beat, these were really good and super easy, and a great way to use up any leftover egg yolks.

We are sending these lemon bars to the Foodie Friday event over at Designs by Gollum