For the Shortbread Base:
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/8 cup cornstarch
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. ground cinnamon
8 tbsp. (1 stick/4oz/113g) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
For the Filling:
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 tbsp. all-purpose flour
Pinch of salt
1 tsp. finely grated lemon zest or 1/4 tsp. lemon oil (optional)
3 eggs, at room temperature
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice (approximately 3 to 4 lemons)
3 tbsp. heavy cream
Confectioners' sugar, for dusting bars
You will need a 9 x 9-inch square metal, glass or ceramic baking dish and parchment paper (baking paper) or wax paper.
To Make the Shortbread Base:
Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). Line a 9 x 9-inch square baking dish with parchment paper or wax paper, extending paper over edges of pan (leaving a 1 to 2 inch overhang). Butter the paper. Set aside.
For Food Processor Method:
In a food processor fitted with a steel blade, combine the flour, cornstarch, granulated sugar, salt and ground cinnamon. Pulse briefly until blended. Add the butter and pulse until the dough forms moist crumbs and sticks together when pinched, about 1 minute (there should be no trace of dryness). Press the dough into the bottom and 1/2 inch up the sides of the prepared baking dish. Refrigerate for 30 minutes, then bake the base until pale golden, 20 to 22 minutes. Transfer the pan to a wire rack.
For Hand Method:
By hand, mix flour, cornstarch, granulated sugar, salt and ground cinnamon in medium bowl. Add pieces of butter. Toss butter pieces to coat. Rub pieces between your fingers for a minute, until flour turns pale yellow and is coarse (there should be no trace of dryness). Press the dough into the bottom and 1/2 inch up the sides of the prepared baking dish. Refrigerate for 30 minutes, then bake the base until pale golden, 20 to 22 minutes. Transfer the pan to a wire rack.
To Make the Filling:
Reduce oven temperature to 325°F (160°C). In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the granulated sugar, flour, salt and lemon zest (or lemon oil if using). Add the eggs, lemon juice and cream and whisk until just blended. Carefully pour mixture into the warm base. Bake until filling feels firm when touched lightly, about 20-22 minutes. Transfer pan to wire rack; cool to room temperature. Chill for 2 hours before cutting into squares or bars.
Use edges of parchment paper (or wax paper) lining to lift bars from pan. Place onto cutting board. Pull back edges of paper for easy cutting. Cut into bars (use a sharp knife, a bench scraper or pizza cutter to cut bars), wiping knife, bench scraper or pizza cutter clean between cuts, as necessary. Just before serving, sift a dusting of confectioners' sugar over the bars.
Store bars in an airtight container in refreigerator for up to one week. For the best flavor, remove from refrigerator and serve at room temperature. Do not freeze.
Makes 12-16 bars.
Cutting the bars is the hardest part. Using a large sharp chef's knife, bench scraper or pizza cutter, a thin spatula, and a glass of hot water will help with this process. Dip the knife (or bench scraper, or pizza cutter) into the hot water (wiping clean after each cut), cut the bars and remove them with the spatula, trying not to tear too much filling.
Photograph taken by Diana Baker Woodall© 2005
Recipe adapted from a combination of recipes that I had experimented with over time. This one has become my very favorite.....Diana
Source: Diana Baker Woodall, Diana's Desserts
Date: August 9, 2005