I was thrilled to taste these and after practically inhaling the entire first batch on my own, I had to make a second batch just to make sure I really did like them as much as I thought I did. That it wasn't some fluke or something the first time.
Anyhow, they're fantastic. They have a bitter edge from using the whole lemon, pith and all, which I quite enjoy. The center is more of a lemon cream and not that jello-looking translucent center we've come to expect. The crust is golden and crispy. I used ground lavender blossoms in mine as well as grated lemon zest, for another layer of flavor.
Such a simple and pleasing treat these are. I hope they will become a staple in your bake-sale, tea party, summer luncheon, Sunday couch snacking while drinking tea.... repertoire.
Whole Lemon Bars:
Yields 1, 9"9 pan (about 9 large squares)
For the crust:
1 cup flour ( I used organic brown rice flour)
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
1 TB grated lemon zest
2 tsp ground lavender blossoms
For the filling:
1 1/2 lemons ( I used 1 large Meyer lemon and 1/2 Bearss lime)
3/4 cup sugar
3 TB freshly squeezed orange juice ( I used blood orange)
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/4 tsp salt
3 TB unsalted butter, melted
1) Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9"x9" brownie pan with cooking spray, then press in parchment to cover the bottom and sides of the pan.
2) In the bowl of a standing mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, combine all the ingredients for the crust. Mix until the dough comes together. It will be quite soft. Press evenly into the parchment lined baking pan, using your fingers. Bake for 25 minutes or until the crust is evenly golden brown.
3) While the crust is cooking, make the filling. Cut the lemon in half and remove the seeds. Cut the lemon/ lime into chunks. Place the chunks into a blender, along with the sugar and orange juice. Let the blender run until the lemon is very well pureed. Add in the eggs, cornstarch, salt, and melted butter. Process until well combined and almost smooth.
4) Remove the crust from the oven and reduce the oven temperature to 300 degrees. Pour the lemon filling into the hot crust and return to the oven for about 25 minutes, or until the filling is just set in the center.
5) Let the bars cool for 15-20 minutes at room temperature, then finish cooling completely in the fridge. Using the sides of the parchment, lift the square out of the pan. Slice off the edges and discard. Then slice the bars into 9 equal pieces, about 2.5" x 2.5". Serve chilled. Store in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 3 days.