24 August 2012

Summer, Squared: A Recipe

raspberry lemon bars
I really need to start expanding my baking inspirations; my obsession with Smitten Kitchen recipes is verging on stalking. I've been feeling like this for a little while. However, this gem of a recipe popped up a few weeks ago, and I needed it. Now.

More importantly, I needed to share the beauty of lemon bars with my non-American friends here; I had a feeling this was a strictly US of A thing. And damn diggity was I right.

raspberry lemon bars
Yesterday I joined a group of my favorite ladies and kids for one of our coffee and cake marathons; I brought the bars, juiced up with raspberry puree (Deb's idea) and fresh ginger (my tweak). They were a hit; I even did some bartering with the gracious hostess on my way out the door- five lemon bars for some blueberry ricotta cheesecake and tiramisu. Win.
raspberry lemon bars
If you're a fan of tartness, these bars are king. If you're not, you'll still like them for the sweet, buttery, crumbly crust. Plus, they are pretty fool-proof, look pretty, and transport nicely. Even strapped to the back of a bicycle. 


p.s. I've gotten a few questions from people regarding the cups/grams issue. I switch between the two; most of the recipes I am inspired by come from the U.S. and are, thus, in cups/pints/quarts/etc. But all of my supplies and recipes that originate from this side of the Atlantic are metric-oriented (grams/liters/etc.). 

I do a lot of converting back and forth, as the U.S. way is by volume, and, well, most of the rest of the world goes by weight; my favorite tool for doing so can be found over at the Traditional Oven. You can change from butter to sugar to flour, etc., on the right, and choose your units of measurement from drop-down menus. I hope this helps clear up your measurement confusion! 
raspberry lemon bars

gingered pink lemonade bars
adapted ever so slightly from Smitten Kitchen

For the base
  • 1/4 cup (50 grams) granulated sugar or sucanat
  • 1 Tablespoon freshly grated lemon zest
  • 1/8 teaspoon table salt
  • 1/2 cup (4 ounces or 115 grams) cold unsalted butter, cut into chunks
  • 1/2 cup (125 grams) white whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour

For the lemonade layer
  • 1/3 cup (about 5 ounces or 140 grams) raspberries
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup (150 grams) granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice; this should only require 2 lemons
  • 2 tablespoons freshly grated ginger root
  • 1/3 cup (40 grams) all-purpose flour
  • Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting

  1. Preheat your oven to 350°F (180°C) and line an 8x8x2-inch baking pan with parchment, letting it extend up two sides. Butter or coat the bottom and sides, and set the pan aside.
  2. Make the base: Whisk the sugar/sucanat, zest and salt until combined. Add the butter and process with a pastry blender until it is evenly dispersed in the dough. Add the flour and keep working until it’s just combined and the mixture is crumbly. 
  3. Press the dough into the prepared pan and about 1/2-inch up the sides. Don’t worry about making this perfect; mine was an uneven mess and nobody can tell. Bake for 15 minutes, until lightly browned at edges. Let cool on a rack while you prepare the filling (though no need for it to be completely cool when you fill it). Leave oven on.
  4. Make the pink lemonade layer: Puree the raspberries using a blender, food processor, or potato masher. Run the puree through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl, trying to press out all the raspberry puree that you can, leaving the seeds behind. Set aside.
  5. In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, sugar and lemon juice until smooth. Whisk in 3 tablespoons of raspberry puree and ginger. Stir in flour until smooth. Pour into cooling crust and return pan to the oven, baking the bars until they’re set (they’ll barely jiggle) and slightly golden at the edges, about 25 to 30 minutes. Cool completely before cutting into rectangles, at room temperature or in the refrigerator.
  6. Dust with powdered sugar before serving. Store in refrigerator for up to a week.