Sunday, February 5, 2012

Lemon Bars with Sweet Pie Crust

The art of making pie crusts seem to be a tedious job among many home cooks. One would rather buy the frozen one instead of making it from scratch to save up time. I recalled the moment that I opened my first cookbook, the first thing that I wanted to do is to make pie crusts from scratch. Still a newbie in baking, I basically winged the recipe hopefully it turns out okay. At that time, I didn't know why butter must be very cold, why use less than 1 tablespoon of cold water to assemble the dough, why the dough must not be overworked. Unfortunately, I didn't follow properly the recipe, and the crust was hard as rock. After a few more attempts, I decided to give myself a break and get back to it when I have more confidence in my baking skills.

With time, I found out about other types of pastry crusts which does not require such meticulous care likepâte sablée and sweet pastry crust (pâte sucrée). These crust can be made all in one bowl with an electrical mixer. The end result is a sweet, buttery and tender crust, ready to be used for any creamy and fruity pies.

What gotten me in baking desserts as well as the launch of this blog is the success of my first ever baked dessert - lemon bars. The combination of the tartness and tanginess of the lemons and the buttery pastry crust makes it so irresistible. This recipe is much simpler than the one previously published and also has less fat. To get the most flavours out of the lemon, consider adding lemon zest, a tip that I learned when I competed in Recipe to Riches with my Blueberry-Lemon Crisp recipe.

Makes about 12-16 bars
Crust recipe adapted from Joy of Baking
Preparation Time: 30 mins
Refrigeration Time: 30 mins
Baking Time: 35 mins
Chilling Time: 1 hour
Printable Recipe


Sweet Pastry Crust
3/4 cup butter, softened
1/3 cup white sugar
1 egg, beaten
2 cups flour, sifted
1 pinch salt

5 eggs
5 lemons, juiced with 2 tsp of zest
1 cup white sugar
1/2 cup plain yoghurt or sour cream

Icing sugar


1. In a large bowl, beat butter until creamy. Add in sugar and beat until light and fluffy.

2. Gradually incorporate beaten egg while whisking. Add in the flour and salt, beat until it forms a dough-like texture.

3. Flatten dough and wrap it in plastic and refrigerate for 30 mins until firm.

4. Preheat oven to 400F.

5. Transfer dough to lightly butter and flour 13'' x 9'' baking pan. Press dough onto bottom and up the sides of the baking pan, about 1/4-inch up. Prick bottom dough with a fork.

6. Bake for 5 mins. Reduce oven temperature to 350F for 15 mins until golden brown. Remove from oven, let it cool.

7. Meanwhile, prepare filling. In a medium bowl, beat eggs, lemon juice, zest, sugar and yoghurt.

8. Pour filling to the baked dough.

9. Bake for 15 mins until firm. Do not overbake as the filling may crack. Cool completely and refrigerate until well chilled.

10. Sprinkle with icing sugar and cut into bar sizes. Serve.


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