Thursday, April 24, 2008

Strawberry Lemonade Bars

Oh. Wow. These are like tiny flavor explosions. Almost painfully so.

I had some issues with this recipe. I think I used too many strawberries and that maybe I didn't let them cook long enough on the stovetop. Interestingly this was my first attempt at making a pastry crust from scratch and that worked out pretty well. Almost better than the actual tart-ish filling.

The recipe I found from Something Sweet who acquired it from Nook & Pantry, who adapted it from a Cook's Illustrated recipe.

7/8 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup confectioner’s sugar
2 tbsp cornstarch
a pinch of salt
6 tbsps unsalted butter, cold and cut into 1/2 in cubes

Lemon Filling
2 large eggs
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 tbsps flour
1/4 cup lemon juice, from 2 lemons
2 tsp lemon zest, from 2 lemons (I only used one and had PLENTY.)
2 tbsp milk
A pinch of salt

Strawberry Puree
1 cup chopped strawberries
1 to 2 tbsp granulated sugar (I used 1 1/2 tbsp)

Mix the chopped strawberries with sugar and set aside to macerate for about 30 minutes.

Add the flour, confectioner’s sugar, cornstarch, and salt in a food processor. Blend the ingredients together for a few seconds to mix evenly. Then add the pieces of butter and pulse until the mixture is pale yellow and looks like coarse cornmeal. If you don’t have a food processor you can use a fork, a pastry blender, or even your hands to cut the butter into the flour. Cook’s Illustrated recommended freezing the butter then grating it into the flour and using your hands to rub the pieces between your fingers.

Line a 8 x 8 in baking pan with a sheet of parchment. Press the crust mixture into an even 1/4 in layer in the pan bottom and about 1/2 in up the sides. Chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.

When you finish making the crust the fruit should almost be done. Blend the strawberries in a food processor (for a few seconds) or mash with a fork until there are no large chunks. Cook over medium heat for about 5 to 10 minutes until thick. Set aside to cool.

Preheat the oven to 350º F and after the crust finishes chilling, bake for 20 minutes, until golden brown.

You can prepare the filling while you bake the crust. Whisk the eggs, sugar, flour and salt in a bowl until the sugar dissolves. Then whisk in the lemon juice, zest, and milk.

Reduce the oven temp to 325ºF, pour the filling into the crust. Drop spoonfuls of the strawberry mixture on the surface. Use spoon or knife swirl/swish the strawberry puree into the filling.

Bake for about 20 - 22 minutes, until the filling feels firm when touched lightly. (I had to bake mine for 40 before it even appeared to be set. I checked my oven temp and it was correct so I have NO idea what the difference was.)

Cool to room temp, dust with confectioner’s sugar and serve.

Holy heck, I'm glad these finally set up. I was soo worried all those dirty dishes were going to be for nothing. I'd probably try this one again and cut back on the amount of strawberries I used and on the amount of lemon zest too. They tasted pretty good, but it was like they were fighting for attention and it was a bloody fist fight that your mouth might possibly end up being the casualty of. But a willing casualty because it really loved strawberries and lemon.


Robin said...

WOW! What a lemon explosion. Pretty tasty, could be a bit more solid but yummy nonetheless.

Xian said...

Hey...Give me a break. It was my first attempt at a non flour based baked good. Plus, I really like strawberries. I can't help it I went a little, a lot, overboard!

In reference to Laura, these things took maybe an hour and a half to two hours start to finish. However long it took Mark and Robin to go bowling. That's how long these took.

Katie said...

where did you get those cute plates? If you want you can blame the not complete success of these cookies on me, i was insisting on talking to you while you made them.

Xian said...

That is a cute plate singular from the Geneva collection. I don't know anything about it other than that I like it a great deal.

I blame Katie for them being extra squishy. Not the myriad of other reasons that were completely my fault and had nothing to do with my time on the phone.

Sara said...

these were zesty and woke me up. They needed some forks in the breakroom because they were messy. I liked them.