Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Strawberry Lemonade Bars

I am helping to host a bridal shower next weekend for a sweet friend, and in thinking through a summery menu, I knew I wanted to make strawberry lemonade bars. I first saw them mentioned several summers ago on a blog I read, so I searched for a recipe and found one that I tried out a few weeks ago. I'm sad to say, my first batch wasn't that good. It was pretty, but the filling was gooey and extremely tart, and the crust was too thick. I decided to try again for Memorial Day, and was very pleased with the results. I simply adapted Brown Eyed Baker's Lemon Bars for the occasion. I still want to tinker some with the crust, but all in all these bars are the perfect summer treat!

This was taken with my iPod, so it's not the greatest pic but you can see the yummy-ness!

For the crust:
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2/3 cup confectioners' sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
3/4 tsp salt
12 TBS butter, cut into pieces

For the lemon filling:
4 large eggs, beaten lightly
1 1/3 cups granulated sugar
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons grated lemon zest (from approx. 2 large lemons)
2/3 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
1/3 cup milk
1/2 cup strawberry puree (approx. 3/4 cup of fresh strawberries pureed in a blender or food processor)

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and adjust the oven rack to middle position. Lightly butter a 9x13 inch glass baking pan or line with parchment paper.
2. In food processor, pulse together dry ingredients for the crust (flour, sugar, cornstarch and salt), then add butter pieces and pulse several times until mixture looks like coarse meal. Sprinkle over pan and press into place, pressing 'up' the sides of the pans just a little. Refrigerate for 30 minutes and then bake for 20-25 minutes, or until golden brown.*
3. The filling must be poured into the warm crust straight from the oven, so prepare the filling while the crust is refrigerating or baking. Clean out food processor to use for making the filling (why dirty more things?). Add all ingredients to the bowl of the food processor and mix until blended.
4. Once crust is baked, stir (or pulse briefly) to reblend, and pour into the warm crust. Turn the oven down to 325 degrees and bake until the filling feels firm when lightly touched, 20-25 minutes (it was right at 23-24 minutes for me). Cool the pan on a wire rack until near room temperature. Slice into bars and dust with confectioner's sugar if desired (the sugar will 'soak in', so only do this right before serving the bars). The bars may slice better if the pan is refrigerated.
*My crust does not look like the crust on the recipe I used. I don't know if I did something wrong, or should have baked it longer. The first day I made these, the crust was really delicate and crumbly, but once the bars were refrigerated the crust held up really well. I am debating using the same crust with a little more butter, or trying a different 'bottom' completely. It does complement the filling well, which is truly like strawberry lemonade in custard-y goodness form! Enjoy!

1 comment:

Laura Carroll said...

whooweeee those look good! :D
(I type sounds out very strangely sometimes..)