Creamy Lemon Bars

February 17, 2009 at 8:00 pm 25 comments

Lemon Angel

There are angels among us, I’m sure of it.  They might not be beings from heaven, but they do make our lives much much better.  I have a “lemon angel”.  She gave me a Wilson lemon tree of my very own!  I’ve always wanted a lemon tree, but somehow never got around to getting one (if I’m honest with myself, I think I’ve always been a bit intimidated by the thought of growing citrus in my windowsill…it seems like it should be difficult, doesn’t it?).   But now that I have my lemon tree from my lemon angel, I’m on Cloud 9!

Lemon tree mosaic

Have you ever buried your nose in a lemon blossom?  It has the most ethereal scent, even better than jasmine.  On those oddball warm days we had last week, I had the window where this lemon tree is sitting open a crack while I studied at my desk.  I immediately became enveloped in the fragrance that dance along the warm breeze.   I will forever be supremely jealous of anyone who lives near a citrus orchard!

Creamy Lemon Bars

Along with the lemon tree came one lone ripe lemon that I determined should definitely go towards an appropriate “thank you” for my lemon angel.  Creamy Dreamy Lemon Bars fit the bill nicely, and I had all the ingredients on hand.  Can I tell you that I giggled aloud at the realization that I didn’t have to run out to buy a lemon?   And I’ve now discovered that the great thing about a lemon fully ripened on the tree is that it contains a great deal more juice than the hard pale ones I’m used to picking up at the grocery store.   It also probably has a higher content of aromatic oils in its rind since the zest this time was extremely fragrant. 

 Lemon

I got another dozen beautiful brown eggs from a local producer when I visited my parents last weekend.   These eggs have the most beautiful yellow yolks!  That pictures is not doctored; they really are that deep golden color.  No doubt they lent some of that rich hue to the lemony custard.

Eggs

While this recipe is traditionally served as a bar cookie, it was very easy to use a heart-shaped cookie cutter to make them even more endearing (as if their rich flavor and crumbly crust aren’t enough).   I’m thinking besides serving as a token of appreciation, these lemony hearts would be a wonderful sweet for serving at a bridal shower in the spring.  

Lemony Hearts 

Creamy Dreamy Lemon Bars
Adapted from The Cook’s Encyclopedia of Cookies

Crust
½ C. confectioners’ sugar
1 ½ C. unbleached flour
Pinch of salt
¼ t. freshly ground nutmeg
¾ C. butter, cold and cubed

Lemon Custard
4 eggs
1 ½ C. granulated sugar
Zest of 1 lemon
½ C. freshly squeezed lemon juice
¾ C. heavy cream

Preheat the oven to 325 F. Grease a 13 x 9 inch baking dish.  Sift the confectioners’ sugar, flour, salt, and nutmeg together into a medium bowl.  Using your hands, rub in the cubed butter until mixture resembles a coarse crumb. 

Press the mixture into the bottom of the prepared pan.  Bake for 25 minutes or just until the edges begin to turn golden.  Meanwhile, make the lemon custard by beating together the eggs and sugar briskly for a minute.  Add the lemon zest and juice and mix well. 

Lightly whip the cream until it gains volume but doesn’t yet quite form peaks.  Gently fold into the egg mixture and pour over the warm crust.  Return the pan to the oven and bake for about 40 minutes until the top is golden and the custard is set. 

Cool completely before cutting into bars.  Dust with confectioners’ sugar just before serving.  Tasty with a little whipped cream or vanilla ice cream. 

(makes 36)

Entry filed under: Recipes, Sweet Treats. Tags: , , , , .

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25 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Era  |  February 18, 2009 at 9:53 am

    I just found your blog and I’m loving it. I live in Philadelphia too! And I can’t wait to try these lemon bars (I never thought of the heart cutout, unnnn, too cute). It also seems like you have a Meyer lemon tree, which would explain the much more fragrant skin and copious juice. The lemons you buy at the store are usually a different variety.

    Reply
    • 2. Jennie  |  February 18, 2009 at 11:37 am

      Era – Welcome! Glad you are enjoying the blog. Love having Philly readers since I can point you towards local resources. 🙂 Regarding my young lemon tree, it’s actually a Wilson Lemon, not a Meyer. But good guess! If you make the lemon bars, I’d love to hear how they turn out.

      Reply
  • 3. A. Woz  |  February 18, 2009 at 7:28 pm

    you are a cooking fiend lately! new recipe day after day> LOVE it.

    Reply
  • 4. oneordinaryday  |  February 19, 2009 at 8:08 am

    I saw your picture on tastespotting and wanted to tell you what a beautiful presentation the little lemon hearts make. But then I got here and you’re waxing poetic about your lemon tree! We just had a sunroom added onto our home last spring and we keep talking about buying a lemon tree to put in there. I would be positively giddy being able to pluck a lemon off my own tree to cook or bake with. I really enjoyed your post and it has me dreaming of lemon trees again. : )
    Michelle
    Would you like to donate some fresh eggs to our blog?

    Reply
  • 5. Hillary  |  February 19, 2009 at 11:58 am

    Love the heart shape! This looks like a great use for the meyer lemons I just bought.

    Reply
  • 6. TJ  |  February 20, 2009 at 11:48 am

    I tried the recipe last night for dessert and the bars turned out wonderful. Thanks for posting and sharing this recipe!

    TJ

    Reply
  • 7. Marcie  |  February 20, 2009 at 3:23 pm

    I just discovered your blog, and can’t wait to make these bars for a brunch this weekend!

    Also – I’m from Philly too! I currently live in New York, but Philly is, and always will be home andI visit fairly often.

    Reply
    • 8. Jennie  |  February 20, 2009 at 4:29 pm

      Marcie – Welcome! 🙂 Can’t wait to hear how the bars go over at your brunch. Philly is rather addicting, isn’t it? 🙂

      TJ – So glad you liked them! And thanks for letting me know. 🙂

      Oneordinaryday – Thanks for the lovely comment. I would definitely encourage you to get a lemon tree for your new sun room…I have no doubt it would be very happy in there. Get a small tree and put it in a very large deep pot and it should quickly establish itself. Good luck!! OH, and about the eggs… I would love to give you some, but unfortunatley I don’t think they’d ship well.😉

      Reply
  • 9. onlinepastrychef  |  February 20, 2009 at 10:42 pm

    Gorgeous, gorgeous! I wish I had a lemon angel:)

    Reply
  • 10. Sylvie, Rappahannock Cook & Kitchen Gardener  |  February 21, 2009 at 9:30 am

    My best year so far was 17 lemons on my potted Meyer lemon tree. That was the year I made limoncello, tart, lemon curd, sorbet etc. And the scent of flowers is indeed intoxicating. (that was the year also that I played bee with a tiny make up brush…)

    Reply
  • 11. Christine  |  February 22, 2009 at 6:05 pm

    I’m definitely going to make these. But now that you have your own lemon tree, will you be my lemon angel?

    Reply
    • 12. Jennie  |  February 23, 2009 at 12:12 pm

      Christine – I will gladly be your lemon angel, but what’s happened to your darling little tree?

      Reply
  • 13. Christine  |  February 23, 2009 at 2:54 pm

    Sadly, my lemon tree didn’t make it. My little lime tree looks great but isn’t flowering yet this winter, which is a little suspicious.

    Reply
  • 14. Kari  |  March 4, 2009 at 3:20 pm

    Hi Jennie –

    I am so amazed at the wonderful photography that you take of you photos. I am an amature at photography but was wondering what type of camera you use to get such clearity and beauty? Do you use any software as well? I love taking photos of my kids and I just would love to get that crispness into some of my shots.

    Your blog is wonderful and for someone who isn’t a great cook this has really helped me expand my abilities to cook healthy and delicious foods for my family.

    Sincerely, Kari

    Reply
    • 15. Jennie  |  March 4, 2009 at 6:31 pm

      Kari – I’m so tickled you like the photography here so much. 🙂 I use a Canon Rebel XTi DSLR with a Sigma 50 mm f/2.8 EX DG Macro lens for most of my shots. I had been using a Tamron 17-35 mm WA lens for the 2008 summer but traded it in over the winter for a Canon 18-55mm IS to avoid distortion at the edges of my wider shots. I’m really happy with the 18-55’s quality even though it’s not techically a “high-end” lens. The macro is really amazing for people shots though and if you have the money to invest in camera equipment, I’d highly recommend getting on…the photos I take with it of my nieces and nephews are darling and some of my favorite (though they rarely get posted here). 🙂

      Thank you for the feedback on the cooking too…it’s so nice to know that what I write can be of help to others. Any other questions, don’t hesitate to ask!

      Reply
  • 16. Marcie  |  March 24, 2009 at 1:54 pm

    So a small baking failure on my part: I used a baking pan that was way too large!

    My 11×7 pan was simply too long and the bars (which tasted absolutely delicious) ended up being only 1/4″ high! Whoops. I thought I could get away with it, but apparently not.

    Anyway, I ended up serving it cobbler style, scooped into a bowl with a nice dollop of homemade whipped cream on top and no body complained. Next time, I’ll definitely not take the shortcut!

    Reply
  • 17. Marcie  |  March 24, 2009 at 2:42 pm

    Or rather my pan was too big in general. The recipe called for a 13 x 9 and mine is big….it is ‘really large batch of brownies’ big.

    Just an excuse to make them again!

    Reply
    • 18. Jennie  |  March 24, 2009 at 6:24 pm

      Hmmm, they are supose to be pretty thin, Marcie, though perhaps not quite *that* thin. 🙂 I used the same rectangular pan as I use for a basic sheet cake. If you want them thicker/more substaintial, I’d go with a square cake pan (what are those, 8×8 ?) next time. Thanks for letting us know how you liked the recipe! Cobbler style sounds wonderful!!!

      Reply
  • 19. Marcie  |  April 15, 2009 at 1:36 pm

    Success!!! While at TJ Maxx this Easter Weekend (in Philly, no less!) I found a 9×13 Calphalon pan for $7.99! Of course I bought it, and it was much much smaller than the pan used on my first attempt. These came out wonderfully and were a huge success at Easter dinner! (I suppose the Limoncello whipped cream didn’t hurt either…)

    Reply
    • 20. Jennie  |  April 15, 2009 at 9:01 pm

      Yay! So glad you found a good pan for these. Now, ’bout that Limoncello whipped cream…there’s no keeping secrets to such amazing treats around here! Do please share how you make such a divine topping!! 🙂

      Reply
  • 21. life's uncertainties  |  July 27, 2009 at 6:18 am

    A yummy colored eggs,very healthy in its truest sense of the word because its native.

    Reply
  • 22. Roasted Plum & Lemon Cake « Straight from the Farm  |  October 21, 2009 at 6:22 pm

    […] while not typically a local fruit here in Pennsylvania (though it is possible), is the perfect companion to the roasted plums in this cake.  The citrus cuts through the […]

    Reply
  • 23. Top 10 for 2009 « Straight from the Farm  |  December 31, 2009 at 12:00 am

    […] #5. Creamy Lemon Bars […]

    Reply
  • 24. sam  |  January 19, 2010 at 10:12 am

    Hi I’ve been looking at your site for a while and I just got some meyer lemons from ca and can’t wait to try the lemon bars. I love that it was posted on my birthday, feb 17 so now I really can’t wait to get some heavy cream to go with my abundance of my own chickens eggs.

    Reply
  • 25. Bookmarks for today: Lemons! | wonderment  |  April 16, 2010 at 12:28 pm

    […] Creamy Lemon Bars | Straight from the Farm – Rave reviews of this in the comments. […]

    Reply

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