Saturday, April 16, 2011

Lemon Curd Pecan Bars

Have you ever been told about a recipe that a friend or family member cannot stop raving about? When my mom first had these lemon bars, she sent the recipe to my sister and I. All the email said was, "These are the best lemon squares." I instantly knew these lemon bars must be worth baking, and they needed to be baked soon.

With Passover coming up on Monday night, the Passover friendly dessert recipe experiments began in the past week or two. There were many average and pretty awful recipes I tried out (let's say my baking and dessert making with coconut milk is going to be on pause for a while).  Luckily, there are things like Passover cake meal that make some forms of baking possible and still really good.

This recipe does not taste like a stereotypical Passover dessert, which would be bad if it did. I'm listing both the standard ingredients and the Passover variations, so you can make this all year round and for pretty much any occasion. This is a really easy dessert if you use store bought lemon curd, which is what I did. I also use my hands and avoid things like pastry blenders. With this change, anyone can make this recipe, whether you own kitchen gadgets or not. If you only have whole pecans and aren't sure how to chop them, put them in a Ziploc bag and smash them with a rolling pin. I also used a round spring form since I didn't have a 9"x9" baking pan. Either option works fine, they just result in different shaped lemon bars (slices vs. squares vs. rectangles).

Adapted from the Los Angeles Times
Makes about 12 small slices
Prep time: 10 minutes
Baking time: 50 to 55 minutes

1 cup Passover Cake Meal or all purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
1/2 cup coarsely chopped pecans
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter or margarine, softened
About 1 1/2 cups cold lemon curd

Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter a 9-inch-square or 9-inch round baking pan. Stir together the flour, sugar, salt, pecans, and butter in a bowl until the mixture forms coarse crumbs and clings together. It's easiest to do this by hand. Pat 2/3 of the dough evenly in the pan, pressing about 1/2 inch up the sides. Spread the lemon curd over the crust, about 1/2 inch from the edges. Crumble the remaining pecan dough evenly over top. Bake until the crust is lightly browned on top and bottom, 50 to 55 minutes. Transfer to a rack and cool completely before cutting into squares.

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