Thursday, September 02, 2010

The best lemon bars, by far

Somewhere there's a book that says that Rachel's feast day is September 2. That's Rachel the matriarch, from the book of Genesis, wife of Jacob and mother of Joseph and Benjamin, the very woman I was named for. I don't know if the book was up to date, and I doubt it's proper Catholic practice to refer to those who died before the time of Christ as saints. But there's one thing I'm sure of: I have pictures of lemon bars, and I want to post them.  So let's all celebrate my name day!

I like regular lemon bars, with their bland crust, lemony filling, and powdered sugar topping.  Nothing against those.  But these here lemon bars, with thyme in the crust for depth and ginger in the filling for zip-- these are scrumptious.

See below for the recipe.  First you mix up all the crust ingredients:

And then press out the crust in a pan.

Bake the crust till the edges are golden.

Meanwhile, whip up some filling.  You must own a microplane zester to get your lemon zest.

Now here's the fun part: pour the filling on top of the hot-from-the-oven crust, and hear the sizzle!

This is why I love baking.  Non-bakers might eat the final product, but they miss these fun steps on the way.

Now you've got some leftover crust saved, and you sprinkle that on top.  (The filling in this picture is still liquid, but it's turned white from some reaction with the hot crust.)

Bake the whole thing...

...and top with lemon glaze.  I flick on the glaze with a fork, trying always to move in one direction.  Some like to double the glaze and really coat the top.

Then you chop that thing into squares (removing some to test for quality assurance)...

...and they look like this!

Or better yet, like this!

And just before you gulp one down it looks like this!

The recipe:

2 cups flour
2/3 cup powdered sugar
2 1/2 tsp. dried thyme
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup butter

1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
3 Tbsp. flour
3/4 tsp. ginger (powdered)
1/2 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. lemon zest
1/2 cup lemon juice
3 eggs

3-4 tsp. lemon juice
3/4 cup powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350ºF. Mix all the crust ingredients together. Set aside 1/3 of the mixture (about one cup) and press out the remaining mixture into a greased 9 x 13 baking pan. Bake 15-18 minutes, or until crust is lightly browned.

Combine the filling ingredients and whisk until blended. Pour over the crust. Sprinkle reserved crust mixture over the top and bake for 20-25 minutes.

Mix the glaze and drizzle it over the bars. It will set when the bars cool.


Vincenzo said...

These look so good.

Rachel said...

I agree, they do look yummy. My name is also Rachel, and I was unaware of an actual feast day for Rachel the Matriarch! Awesome!

Although I think it might sound odd to our ears, I do not think it is bad Catholic practice or anything to refer to Old Testament holy people as saints. Saint, after all, just comes from the Latin word for holy, which is why we can call archangels saints. :) They obviously did not live a holy life, then die, then be canonized. ;)

Anyway, if you want to call her St. Rachel, that is A-okay. Besides, we have St. Elisabeth, St. Joseph, St. Anna, St. Joachim, plus St. Adam and St. Eve, who do have a feast day (Dec. 24) etc. All the Biblical holy people (not the ones like Jezebel, lol) are considered saints, though they were never officially canonized - making them "pre-Congregation" saints - before there was a set process to canonization. Like Our Lady, etc. :)

I think it's so neat you will be a Sister Adorer! Praying for you!

(I stumbled on your blog rather unexpectedly) :)

Rachel Gray said...

Thanks, Vincenzo and Rachel! Rachel, great name, and I didn't know Adam and Eve had a feast day! I can't think of much our namesake did to deserve a "Saint" title, but what the heck. Thanks for your prayers! I just checked out your blog; very nice. :)

Jackie said...

That is tempting . I think I will make this for my birthday , thank you .

Rachel Gray said...

My pleasure. :)