Sunday, 19 April 2009

Cookie Carnival: Lemon Bars

My first Cookie Carnival project. Many thanks to the organiser and this month's host for letting me join in.

Lemon bars from The Sweet Melissa Baking Book by Melissa Murphy. I have no idea who Melissa is but I'm not a fan of her lemon bars. Hmm, I sense I'm already at odds with the cheery Cookie club mentality, but to thy own self be true. (Lord, I'm quoting Clueless again...)

The recipe looks close to Lemon Meringue bars, but with less yolk and a touch of flour. And missing all important meringue. Now here’s the thing. This is the
UK. We don’t HAVE Lemon Bars. I’ve just done a quick search on Google Images and it appears they have a very standard appearance. Adding meringue would definitely be cheating, as would my first thoughts of drizzling these babies with dark chocolate. These babies are rectangular, they are dusted in icing sugar and they better be made with lemon.

I made a few changes but not enough as far as I'm concerned. More yolks would have made the filling that bit more yellow, and it would have needed some more flour to keep it a bit more solid, it was still liquid compared to the pictures I've seen online. Moan, moan, moan. Anyway. The fundamentals to why I am changing the recipe:

1: I don’t own a food processor, ergo I’m cheating on the ground toasted almonds.
2: How is 20 tbsp = 1 ¼ cups??
3: I’m cheap. I’m not buying almond extract. Will exchange for a bit
of orange blossom we already have instead.
4: 7 lemons does not a ¾ cup juice make.

My amended recipe (for the real one, go search someone else's website ;) )

For the Crust:
2 cups plain flour
3/4 cup caster sugar
1/2 cup ground almonds (lightly toasted)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 ¼ cup butter

Method:
1. Toast the ground almonds under the grill. Keep a close eye on them and give them a stir until they change shade and smell nice and fragrant.
2. Mix all the dry stuff together.
3. Add the butter and mush to make crumbs as usual.
4. Grab a pan lined with greaseproof and gently oil.
5. Smush crumbs into a pastry case. Manfully ignore your fingerprints in the pastry and just bear with it. Make walls on the edges because the filling is liquid.

6. Bake blind for 30minutes at Gas Mark 4, then 15 more without the beans. Scarily enough, this pastry needs it because of all the almonds I think, as the paper came up slightly damp and stuck to the pastry which isn't normal.
7. Allow to sit whilst you get on with the filling.

For the Lemon Filling:
4 large eggs
1 3/4 cups sugar
1/2 teaspoon almond extract (replaced with orange blossom water)
1/2 cup plain flour
3/4 cup fresh lemon juice (about 3 lemons but note that these are the big unwaxed ones which are 50% pith, a small organic waxed one yields much more juice comparatively)
1/4 cup icing sugar for sprinkling

Method:
1. Sugar, eggs, then extract, then flour, then juice. Mix.
2. Pour into case.
3. Bake for 30 minutes at Gas Mark 3.
4. Douse in sieved icing sugar, slice into pieces and enjoy.

Conclusion? Bring on the next challenge!!!


1 comment:

Tami said...

Sorry to hear that you didn't like the lemon bars. That's the beauty of a club like this...everyone has different opinions. Thanks for sharing yours. Hopefully May's cookie will work out better for you!