Posted on December 16 2011

Tartine Baking Project: Recipe #25 Lemon Bars on Brown Butter Shortbread

In the days leading up to Christmas around here, everyone is looking to the sky for snow.  Quite often it happens right before the big day, just like the miraculous snowfall in White Christmas.  So when we have days that are rainy and gray, we either cry because the rain should be snow, or find ways to infuse sunshine into our lives.  I chose the latter.  Nothing brings the sunshine like a bright yellow bag of lemons.

The lemon bars at Tartine have always held the blue ribbon for the lemony-est lemon bars I’ve ever eaten.  Sometimes lemon bars taste so very eggy, or way too sugary.  I had my fingers crossed that the strong lemonness would translate to the at-home recipe.  Who knows?  Maybe Tartine uses magical lemons?  I wouldn’t put it past them. 

(Other lemon adjectives/adverbs/descriptors I may plan on using: lemonosity, Liz Lemonism, Lemonist (someone who seriously loves lemons and fights for lemon rights everywhere), lemonly (to be used in place of the word heavenly), lemoned (i.e. You’ve just been lemoned!)…

My immediate concern as I looked at the flour, butter, and confectioner’s sugar mixing: This is never going to be a “smooth dough”.  Oh ye of little faith!  It literally happened in the blink of an eye.

Using a glass to even out the dough

I think I’m using too much weight when using pie weights.  Just the weights seemed too light, so I used a lot of rice.  I need to research this a bit, but I think my crusts aren’t getting as golden brown as they should be because they’re being suffocated beneath the amount of weight I’m using.  It didn’t affect the taste, but the crust just wasn’t the color I’d expected.

The beginning of the lemon custard…

There was lots of bonding time with my whisks.

More behind the scenes: I also had to prop up one of the sides of the baking pan because our floor slopes down a bit, so everything that means everything tends to lean over to the left side of the oven.

After some time chilling, I was incredibly happy with the results.  You can see that the edges of the crust were the perfect deep golden brown, but the rest was a little pale.  Completely delicious, but pale.  My Anti-Lemonist husband even admitted it was tasty, but the lemonosity was a little too intense for his liking.  I, on the other hand, was a complete fan, and this made for a bright and perfect breakfast this morning!  Lemonly! 

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