Friday, August 02, 2013

Strawberry Lemon Bars

I was looking for a dessert to take to a cook-out, and stumbled upon a recipe for lemon bars flavored with strawberry. I love lemon bars, but Mr Minx thinks they are occasionally too tart. Using strawberry juice to replace some of the lemon juice does a nice job of offsetting the tangy-ness, while adding an additional fruit flavor.

To make strawberry juice, one simply cooks very ripe strawberries for a couple of minutes until they surrender their juice. If you have a juicer, of course you can use that, instead. You want about 1/3 - 1/2 cup of juice.

Strawberry Lemon Bars

1/3 cup confectioners' sugar
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup cold unsalted butter, cut into small bits
1 1/2 cups ripe, juicy strawberries, hulled and chopped
4 large eggs
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
grated zest of two lemons
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/3 cup all-purpose flour

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat a 9-inch square baking pan with cooking spray and line it with a piece of parchment long enough that the ends flop over the top of the pan. Set aside.

Sift together flour, confectioners' sugar, cornstarch, and salt. Add butter and work with your fingertips until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Press into bottom and 3/4 inch up sides of prepared pan. If there seems to be too much butter and the dough sticks to your hands as you press it into the pan, put it back into the bowl and mix in a couple of additional tablespoons of flour. Refrigerate crust 15 minutes.

Bake at 350 until crust is lightly browned, about 20 minutes. Let cool slightly in pan.

While crust is cooling, make the filling. Cook the strawberries over medium heat until they are saucy. Strain and discard solids (eat them!). The remaining liquid should be about 1/3 - 1/2 cup. Allow to cool.

In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs, sugar, lemon zest, juice, flour, and strawberry sauce until smooth. Reduce oven temperature to 325°F and slowly pour filling over hot crust. Bake until filling is firm, about 35-40 minutes. Cool completely in pan on wire rack. Cover and refrigerate until cold.

Use parchment to lift bars from pan. Cut into squares using a sharp knife and dust with powdered sugar before serving.

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