Best Lemon Bars Ever!

The search is over! I've found them! My favorite, BEST EVER lemon bars are from Alice Medrich's Pure Dessert. 

Through the years, I've tried many recipes and sampled numerous delectable bars, but.....there was always something.....lacking. Maybe the crust was too hard or too crumbly, too thick or too thin. Or the filling was too runny or too lumpy, too sweet or too pale. (Picky, huh?)

But at last, I've met my match made in heaven. Medrich's version achieves the perfect balance between crust and filling with a crust that's not too thick, not too thin, A crust perfectly crisp, yet still tender. But not so tender that it falls apart when cutting or biting into! The filling is tangy - maybe too tangy for some? Apparently an "esteemed" New England cooking magazine dinged Medrich's lemon bars for being too sour. Oh well, to each their own; my tastebuds find them perfect.

Another issue I had with previous lemon bar recipes was the filling didn't set quite right so it was hard to get clean cuts. Problem vanquished in this recipe!

Double your pleasure by substituting limes for the lemons and you've got lime bars as well.

I just love it when all the pieces fall into place!

Best Lemon Bars Ever!
Adapted from Pure Dessert by Alice Medrich
Makes sixteen 2" x 2" bars

Position rack in lower third of oven and preheat oven to 350°F. Line an 8" square baking pan with one piece of foil large enough to cover the bottom and up all four sides.

Begin by making the crust. In a medium bowl, combine:
8 TBS (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
1/4 cup sugar (50g)
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp salt

Add and mix with a fork until just incorporated:
1 cup (130g) all-purpose flour

Press the dough evenly over the bottom of the foil-lined pan.
Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until the crust is well browned at the edges and golden brown in the center.

While the crust is baking, make the lemon filling.

In a large bowl, whisk together:
1 cup plus 2 TBS sugar (225g) OR 3/4 cup plus 2 TBS sugar (175g), if using Meyer lemons
3 TBS all-purpose flour (24g)

Whisk in:
3 large eggs

Stir in:
1 1/2 tsp finely grated lemon or lime zest
1/2 cup strained fresh lemon or lime juice OR 3/4 cup strained Meyer lemon juice

When the crust is ready, turn the oven down to 300°F. Pour the filling into the hot, baked crust. Bake for 25 to 35 minutes (longer time for the Meyer lemon version), or until the filling no longer jiggles in the center when you tap the pan. Set on a rack to cool completely.

When cooled, lift up the foil liner and transfer bars to a cutting board. Use a long sharp knife (I use our carving knife) and cut into sixteen 2-inch x 2-inch  bars.

If desired, sift over bars just before serving:
Powdered (Confectioner's) sugar

The bars can be stored airtight in the refrigerator for several days or more. After 3 days, the crust softens up, but the bars will still taste delicious!

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