Screw the Lemonade. When Life Gives You Meyer Lemons, Make Mayer Lemon Bars

#365daysofbaking (1)Whoever said you need to make lemonade when life gave you lemons was a fool. Screw that. I’d rather have lemon bars. And when those lemons are Meyer lemons, damn skippy those puppies are going into Meyer Lemon Bars for my #365daysofbaking challenge.

When I made – definitely more like botched – my Meyer Lemon Marmalade, I had exactly three leftover Meyer lemons. Three. Those things are like gold in the Northeast, so I didn’t want to waste them. I wrapped them up in a plastic bag, and stored them in my fruit drawer with those bluapple produce savers. They’ve lasted well over 2 weeks. If you don’t get those bluapple suckers, me thinketh you be the fool. 

The NPR article on Meyer Lemons is well worth the read, as it outlines why the Meyer lemon is so valued – everything to do with having an edible peel that has very little, if any, bitterness to it. It also informs us of how this tooty fruity lil’ lemon came into our hearts. I’ll give you a hint…it’s a good thing.

Oh Martha, I am a pirate swearing lover of thee and all your linen pressing, make your own chandelier at Thanksgiving, fuck the Girl Scouts, I’ll make my own Thin Mint cookie analness.

P.S. Can I come be your front row guest on Martha and Snoop’s Potluck Dinner Party? Pretty Please

The article has a few other really good looking cooking recipes in there to try. It’s always a good thing to have dinner before dessert.

Nah. Eat dessert first. 

 Meyer Lemon Bars: From NPR

A chopped whole Meyer lemon adds texture and a big flavor punch to traditional lemon bars.

Julie O’Hara for NPR

Makes 12 or 16 bars

 

For Crust

  • Cooking spray
  • 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Zest of 1 Meyer lemon
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into chunks

For Filling

  • 1 whole Meyer lemon
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup Meyer lemon juice (from 3 to 4 lemons)

Powdered sugar for garnish (optional)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Coat an 8-by-8-inch baking dish with cooking spray.
  3. In a food processor, pulse flour, powdered sugar, salt and zest until combined.
  4. Add the butter and pulse until mixture resembles sandy crumbs.
  5. Transfer to baking dish and press into an even layer with your fingertips.
  6. Bake for 15 to 17 minutes, or until lightly golden around the edges.

Lower oven temperature to 325 degrees.

  1. To make the filling, wipe out food processor bowl.
  2. Trim off ends and cut the whole Meyer lemon into small chunks, removing the seeds.
  3. Add to processor and pulse until roughly chopped. Set aside.
  4. Whisk together the sugar, flour and salt.
  5. In a separate bowl, lightly beat the eggs, then whisk in the lemon juice.
  6. Whisk the egg mixture into the sugar mixture until thoroughly combined.
  7. Stir in the chopped whole lemon.
  8. Pour filling over the hot crust and return to oven.
  9. Bake 28 to 30 minutes, or until center is set but still gooey when poked with a toothpick. Cool completely.

Sift powdered sugar (if using) over the dish. Cut into 12 or 16 bars and serve.

Best eaten within 24 hours. Cover and store at room temperature.


My Thoughts After Baking:

  • Dear Lord, just make these. When I can take these to my classroom, and middle school kids are scarfing them down, Martha would agree with me… It’s a damn good thing. Even my co-teacher, who said she doesn’t normally like lemon bars – I tried not to hold that against her – liked these. She said it was the lemon peel in them that made them stand out. Indeed, she is spot on.
  • Let’s talk about step #2 in making the crust: Coat an 8-by-8-inch baking dish with cooking spray. No. Don’t just spray. If you do, you will have this when you’re done cutting out the bars – a perfectly scored pan.IMG_7068
  • Do this: Spray the pan, line the pan with parchment paper, then spray the parchment paper with more spray. Once the final product is all cooled, you easily will be able to pull that luscious lemony goodness out and still have a unscored pan. I do still love my husband after he scored my pan making fudge.IMG_7069
  • This recipe asks you to use a food processor. Like a monster that sleeps under the bed, only coming out for a sole purpose, my food processor is a heavy beast, and it only comes out for a sole purpose – a full day of salsa making. I used my Vitamix that I adore and use with so much frequency that it owns a permanent spot on my countertop. It worked fine.IMG_7071
  • See that Meyer lemon on the right? It came that way in the bag… that’s how sensitive its wee lil’ skin is. It’s one of the reason these lemons don’t travel too far and wide.
  • The truth is, if you don’t have a food processor or a strong mixer like a Vitamix, you could easily use a good pastry cutter to achieve the course crumbs called for when cutting the butter into the flour, sugar, and zest for the crust:IMG_7074
  • Maybe my “sandy crumbs” are more like small pieces of gravel, but it still worked totes fine. It wasn’t worth schlepping my ass down to the basement to my storage area for all my sundry small appliances and carry my beast of a food processor up for “sandy crumbs”. Fuckin’ small pieces of gravel it was.
  • And it was fine. A buttery, sugary, zesty yummy crust I still made: IMG_7078
  • The recipe also tells you to chop up the Meyer lemon with the food processor. Nah. You don’t need to. Use a sharp knife.IMG_7075
  • In short, you really don’t need any electric equipment for this recipe. They lie. You’re not being lazy if you choose not to go get out all those small appliances you don’t need.
  • Mix that hand chopped Meyer lemon in with the other filling ingredients, and you have luscious chunky sunshiney-ness ready to become gorgeous Meyer lemon bars.
  • I didn’t have enough juice from my three Meyer lemons. They produced only 1/4 of the necessary 1/2 cup of lemon juice, so I filled in with regular lemon juice. Meyers have a much more subdued lemon bite than traditional lemons, but even when I had to add 1/2 regular lemon juice, it still came out with a milder taste than regular lemon bars. Yeah me. IMG_7076
  •  Once the crust comes out, pour the above filling over the hot crust, and bake to Martha-like perfection. It’s a damn good thing:IMG_7079
  • So, yeah. My end product never made it to camera… My husband and I ate 1/2 the pan. And the rest of it went to my classroom and was hoarked down.

I bet Martha learned a few choice words in prison, and if she were honest, she’d say that Meyer lemons were a fucking really good thing.

eat dessert 1st meme

One Comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s