I’m supposed to be “the lemon lady” so I’ve been a little embarrassed that I not only didn’t have a recipe for lemon bars, but had never actually made them at all. It was time to remedy that.
I was looking for something relatively simple as far as the shortbread crust and a fresh, lively tart topping.
Most appealing were the recipes for “whole lemon bars” which used the entire lemon, pith peel and all. Usually I don’t like a recipe to indicate using “a lemon” because lemons vary so much in size, but in this case, it couldn’t be helped. Still, the author should indicate at least small, medium or large.
Since I like my lemon desserts on the tart size, I used one-and-a-half medium organic lemons and followed David Lebovitz’s recipe. Probably I should have only used one medium lemon, but I just wanted them to be, well, very lemony! I asked my students to sample the finished product, and all agreed they were darned good lemon bars with a good sweet-tart balance. (However, I like things extra tangy, so when I make them next time, I’d substitute fresh lime juice for the 3 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice.)
Deb Perelman (of the popular Smitten Kitchen) also offers a whole lemon bar recipe and I haven’t tried it yet. (I may not, as I am perfectly happy with David L’s recipe. Also, I think his method of lining the pan with aluminum foil is a little easier than the parchment paper sling that Deb advises.)
In any case, cut the lemon bars in small pieces as they’re very rich. And they’ll just get better and better the next day — if they last that long.