My mother loved the lemon bars from Putnam Market in Saratoga Springs, so in honor of her 100th birthday I whipped up a close approximation based on a recipe from Alice Medrich. These are really easy to make and very, very good. Makes 16 two-bite bars.
1 stick (8 T) unsalted butter, melted
2 T sugar
3/4 t vanilla extract
1/4 t salt
1 c AP flour
For the topping:
1 c + 2 T sugar
3 T AP flour
3 large eggs
1 1/2 t finely grated lemon zest*
1/2 c fresh squeezed lemon juice, strained**
Method: Line an 8×8 inch baking pan with parchment paper. Preheat oven to 350 degrees with a rack in the bottom third. Melt butter and mix in vanilla, 2 T sugar, salt and 1 C flour. Transfer this crust/batter to the baking pan and use a spoon or your fingers to spread it so the pan is evenly covered to the edges. Bake 25-30 minutes until edges are brown and center is a golden brown.
While the crust is baking, whisk eggs until well beaten and mix in other ingredients. After the crust is done, lower oven temperature to 300, pull out oven rack for access and pour lemon/egg mixture over crust. Bake 20-25 minutes until eggs are firm and no longer jiggly. Cool completely before slicing into 16 2-inch squares or larger or smaller bars as you wish. Medrich advises that if you don’t want a foamy top (as pictured) you can blot gently with a paper towel and you can also sift on powdered sugar.
*This is a lot of lemon zest, harvested from two good-sized lemons using a microplane. But don’t stint because this is key to the recipe.
**You can also substitute Lakewood Organic Lemon Juice for some or all of the fresh squeezed lemon juice.