The bars are made in two stages; firstly you pre-bake the shortbread like base and then a lemon custard is poured over the base and it is returned to the oven to finish cooking and set. Be warned, there is a quite a lot of sugar, lemon juice and eggs in this recipe and the bars are undeniably rich… but they taste so good… and as the old adage goes – everything in moderation! The bars keep extraordinarily well and I found that they were still as delicious a couple of days later. They would be prefect for a picnic, buffet of similar type of gathering.
I love the way that the custard sets into an almost stiff lemon curd on top of the buttery base – this combination is lovely. The base has a slightly cake-like texture which I liked, but I am going to experiment a bit more to see if I can achieve the same overall effect for the lemon filling but with a crisper, shorter base. I’m not sure whether this will improve the recipe because I am extremely happy with the results that I have achieved so far, but I do love testing different ideas out and will report back on my findings.
185g butter, softened
65g granulated sugar
185g plain flour
5 large eggs
450g granulated sugar
Finely grated zest and juice of 5 lemons
90g plain flour, sifted
Icing sugar for dusting
Method:1. Lightly grease a 23cm square traybake tin and set aside.
2. Place the butter and sugar in a mixing bowl and using a hand-held electric mixer beat together until light and fluffy. Add the flour and using a wooden spoon mix together until a soft dough is formed. Press the dough into the greased tin and prick all over with a fork. Refrigerate the base for at least 30 minutes.
3. Preheat oven to 170C/Fan Oven 150C/Gas Mark 3. Remove the base from the fridge and bake in the preheated oven for 20 minutes until a pale golden colour. Set aside to cool, but leave the oven on.
4. Using a hand whisk beat together the eggs and sugar and then beat in the lemon juice and zest. When everything is thoroughly mixed together, add the sifted flour and whisk in. Pour this mixture over the cooled base and bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes or until just set in the middle.
5. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely in the tin before removing and cutting into squares.
6. Serve dusted with a little icing sugar, if desired.Makes 16.