I came back from my California trip with a large bag of Meyer lemons with the intent of making lemon bars. Meyer lemons are so expensive in Wisconsin and when I travel to San Francisco, I can literally pick from everyone's yard. I packed them in a big bag and wrapped my clothes around them and they came back in perfect shape! I found this recipe in the NY Times and the addition of olive oil and salt intrigued me, so I had to make it. The olive oil added a subtle flavor and made the curd nice and smooth. I loved the little bit a of salt too. I removed about 1/2 cup of sugar from the recipe because I like to remove sugar in most recipes because I find things always way too sweet for my tastes. Meyer lemons are little sweeter too and also why the sweetness was spot on. I think I will even remove another 1/4 cup of sugar next time. Enjoy!
FOR THE CRUST:
- 1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
- ¼ cups granulated sugar
- 3 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar
- 1 teaspoon finely grated Meyer lemon zest
- ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
- 10 tablespoons/142 grams cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes
FOR THE CURD:
- 4 to 6 Meyer lemons (~3/4cup of juice)
- 1 cup sugar (I removed 1/2 cup of sugar from the original recipe and it was fine)
- 2 large eggs
- 3 egg yolks
- 1 ½ teaspoons cornstarch
- Pinch of fine sea salt
- 4 tablespoons butter
- ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- Rest of the Meyer lemon zest
- Confectioners’ sugar
- Flaky sea salt, for sprinkling
- Heat oven to 325 degrees and line a 9-by-9-inch baking pan with enough parchment to hang over two of the sides.
- To make the shortbread base, mix with a pastry tool the flour, granulated sugar, confectioners’ sugar, lemon zest and salt in a large bowl. Add butter and your fingers to cut the butter into the flour until a crumbly dough forms. Press dough into prepared pan and bake until shortbread is pale golden all over, 30 minutes.
- While the shortbread is baking, prepare the lemon curd: Grate 1/2 tablespoon zest from lemons and set aside. Squeeze lemons to yield 3/4 cup juice.
- In a small saucepan, whisk together lemon juice, sugar, eggs and yolks, cornstarch and fine sea salt over medium heat until boiling and thickened, 2 to 5 minutes. Make sure mixture comes to a boil or the cornstarch won’t activate. But once it boils do not cook for longer than 1 minute or you risk the curd thinning out again. Remove from heat and strain into a bowl. Whisk in butter, olive oil and lemon zest.
- When the shortbread is ready, take it out of the oven and carefully pour the lemon curd onto the shortbread base; return the pan to the oven. Bake until topping is just set, 10 to 15 minutes more. Allow to cool to room temperature, then refrigerate until cold before cutting into bars. Sprinkle with confectioners’ sugar and flaky sea salt right before serving.