This is the twenty-first installment in Mucho Gusto, a recipe initiative by and for students to help connect us through food in times of isolation. If you’ve got a recipe you think would make a great addition, reach out to us!
Make if you have: Lemons, flour, and eggs
Summer is the ideal time for bright and fruity desserts, and lemon bars fit the bill. A layer of lemon custard sits atop lightly salted shortbread in this tried-and-true bar. What’s more, this recipe is far from labor intensive (you don’t even need a mixer!).
2 cups all-purpose flour, plus 2 tablespoons
1 cup salted butter, softened (not melted)
½ cup powdered sugar, plus extra for dusting
2 cups granulated sugar
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
4 tbsp lemon juice (this will likely require 2 lemons)
First things first: set your oven to bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Next, mix the flour, softened butter, and powdered sugar in a bowl with a fork. All ingredients should be thoroughly distributed, and the combination should look crumbly. Scrape the contents of the bowl into a greased 9 x 13 pan, and use the fork to press the crumbs down, creating an even layer of shortbread across the pan. Bake for 20 minutes.
While your base is in the oven, combine the eggs, granulated sugar, salt, and lemon juice in a bowl. This is when you add the additional tablespoons of flour, as well. Mix these ingredients until they are all incorporated. When the shortbread is done baking, pour the liquid mixture over top and place it back in the oven for an additional 20-25 minutes, or until the sides have grown slightly brown. Take care not to overbake these; you want the lemon layer to remain a bit gooey under a crispy surface. After the bars have been removed and cooled, dust the tops with powdered sugar to finish!
I made these bars for a birthday, so I added crystallized flowers as a garnish. Should you choose to do the same, all you need is 1 egg white, granulated sugar, a paint brush, and freshly cut flowers. Simply whisk the egg white until it is of a smooth consistency, and use the paintbrush to coat the flower(s) in egg white. Dust sugar over top, and be sure to cover the surface without weighing down the flower. The sugar should have a sparkly sheen to it (if it clumps together, it loses its shine). Allow the flowers to dry in a bright, dry place for 12-24 hours, then place on top of the bars.