Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Lemons and Limes

As the seasons change, different fruits and vegetables appear and disappear at the farmers market, depending on where you live. I took a look at the La Jolla Open Aire Market website, as they have a great list of all our seasonal fruits and vegetables, and noticed that we are lucky enough to have lemons and limes in season all year round.

This reminded me of a recent conversation I had with my father who still lives in England, who spent many weeks trying to find limes at the local stores, as he wanted to "experiment" making some lime marmalade. Admittedly, he lives in a very small country town, but even so, it made me realize what an amazing climate we have here in Southern California. Citrus fruits, such as lemons and limes, not only add color and flavor to many dishes, but are a great source of vitamin C, essential to help boost our immune system.

The recipe below for Classic Lemon Bars appeared in a recent food network magazine, and is sure to be a crowd pleaser.

The lemon bars are simple to make using a food processor, and of course, take advantage of those super juicy lemons found at the farmers market all year round.

This recipe makes 24 bars.

Ingredients for the Crust
  • Vegetable oil for greasing pan
  • 1 1/2 sticks cold unsalted butter, diced
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup confectioners' sugar, plus additional for garnish
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
Ingredients for the Filling
  • 4 large eggs, plus 2 egg yolks
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour, sifted
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
  • 1 cup fresh lemon juice (about 8 lemons)
  1. Make the crust: Place the rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees. Grease a 9 x 13 inch pan with vegetable oil and line with foil, leaving a 2-inch overhang on all sides. Grease the foil with oil. Pulse the butter, flour, both sugars and the salt in a food processor until the dough comes together, about 1 minute. Press evenly into the bottom and about 1/-inch up the sides of the prepared pan, making sure there are no cracks. Bake until the crust is golden, about 25 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, make the filling: Whisk the whole eggs and yolks, sugar and flour in a bowl until smooth. Whisk in the lemon zest and juice. Remove the crust from the oven and reduce the temperature to 300 degrees. Pour the filling over the warm crust and return to the oven. Bake until the filling is just set, 30 to 35 minutes.
  3. Let the bars cool in the pan on a rack, then refrigerate until firm, at least 2 hours. Lift out of the pan using the foil and slice. Dust with confectioners' sugar before serving.

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