Best Ever Lemon Bars

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Base recipe adapted from Ina Garten (Barefoot Contessa)

Makes approximately 18 – 20 squares. 

Ingredients

  • Icing sugar (for dusting)

For the Shortbread Base

  • 227g unsalted butter (room temperature)
  • 110g caster sugar
  • Seeds from half of a vanilla pod
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 280g plain flour (sieved)

For the Lemon Filling 

  • 6 extra-large eggs (room temperature)
  • 2 tbsp grated lemon zest
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 230ml freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 660g caster sugar
  • 140g plain flour (sieved)

Instructions: (Shortbread Base) 

  1. Cream together the butter, sugar, vanilla pod and salt until light and fluffy using an electric mixer.
  2. Sieve the plain flour and add to your mixture. Using a spatula or the lowest setting on your electric mixer combine the flour into the mixture until just incorporated.
  3. Gather the dough and make into a ball.
  4. Put the dough into a lined 9 x 13 by 2-inch baking pan, using floured hands flatten the shortbread base until evenly distributed.
  5. Prick the dough all over using a fork, this will help any trapped air escape.
  6. Chill the dough in the fridge for approximately 20 minutes.
  7. Whilst the dough chills in the fridge, preheat your oven to 175°C.
  8. Once chilled, bake your shortbread crust in the oven for 15 – 20 minutes until very lightly browned.
  9. Leave to cool on a wire rack, meanwhile make the lemon filling.

Instructions: (Lemon Filling) 

  1. Whisk together the eggs, sugar, lemon juice, lemon zest, vanilla extract and plain flour until well combined.
  2. Pour the filling over the cooled shortbread base.
  3. Cover with foil.
  4. Bake in the oven for 30 – 35 minutes. Remove kitchen foil and let it bake uncovered for the last remaining 10 minutes until the filling is set.
  5. Leave to cool completely on a wire rack prior to cutting.
  6. Cut into squares and dust with icing sugar before enjoying.

Notes

  • Extra-large eggs are sometimes also known as ”very large eggs” in supermarkets.
  • When trying to determine whether or not the filling is set; it is important to mention that a slight jiggle in the middle is normal. Once the lemon bars are fully cooled this should help the filling completely set.
  • Avoid baking this recipe in a loose-bottomed pan as this can sometimes lead to the filling leaking!

 

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