Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Raspberry Lemon Bars

After making my white chocolate and raspberry swirl cheesecake last week, to amazing reviews I might add, I had raspberries left over and wanted to use them up. I had seen a recipe for raspberry lemon bars on my favorite food blog Annie's Eats back in August and had made a mental note to try it out at some point in the near future. Looking at my fridge I saw that I had all the right ingredients and knew that the time had come.

I was a little hesitant to make the full recipe because it called for a lot of eggs...six egg whites and two whole eggs to be precise. Instead I opted to make half and see if everyone liked it enough for me to make an entire batch next time. I must have some sort of secret psychic powers unbeknownst to me   because as I started to make the filling, with the dough already in the oven, I realized that I was one egg short. Of course for the half batch this didn't make too much of a difference, I just used a whole egg in place of two egg whites, but if I had been making an entire batch this would have definitely been a bigger problem.

Luckily I don't think the egg swap I made altered the taste in any way because the bars tasted delicious. I must admit it was quite a lengthy process to make them considering that the raspberries had to be strained to remove the seeds and I had to squeeze a lot of lemons to get enough lemon juice. But all that hard work was definitely worth it! The lemon really stood out and gave the bars a nice, tart flavor which coupled well with the buttery crust. My grandpa especially loved the bars and, much to my brother's disappointment, kept the couple of extra pieces that remained. I can't say that the raspberry flavor was too strong, in fact it was quite mild, but it made the bars a beautiful rose color which was quite pleasing to the eye. Seeing how much everyone loved the bars I will be sure to bake a full batch next time. I guess I'll just have to make my creme brulees as well to use up all those egg yolks I'll be left with.

Raspberry Lemon Bars
Note: These proportions reflect the full recipe. To halve it, bake in an 8" x 8" baking pan with a slightly reduced baking time.

For the crust:
  • 1 cup (16 tbsp) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
For the raspberry lemon filling:
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 1 1/3 cups flour
  • 3 tbsp lemon zest
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3 cups frozen raspberries, thawed
  • 6 large egg whites
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  1. To prepare the crust, beat the butter and sugar together on medium-high speed until smooth. 
  2. Lower the speed and mix in the flour and salt until just incorporated. The dough will be crumbly but you can work it into a uniform dough using your hands.
  3. Press the dough in an even layer into the bottom of a 9" x 13" baking pan lined with parchment or wax paper. Bake for 20-25 minutes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit, or until the crust is a light golden brown.
  4. While the crust is baking, combine the sugar, flour, lemon zest, and salt in a large bowl and whisk to blend.
  5. Heat the raspberries in a small saucepan over low heat until they break apart then press through a fine mesh sieve to remove all the seeds. Set the raspberry puree aside.
  6. Add the egg whites and whole eggs to the bowl with the dry ingredients and whisk well to incorporate. 
  7. Whisk in the raspberry puree and lemon juice until the mixture is completely smooth. It will be quite liquidy in consistency.
  8. Pour the filling over the crust and bake for 35-40 minutes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit, or until the center is just set and no longer jiggles when gently shaken.
  9. Cool to room temperature then cover and chill well in the refrigerator for at least two hours. 
  10. To serve, use the parchment paper to lift the bars from the pan and slice into bars. Dust the tops with a little bit of powdered sugar if desired.

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