Good grief I'm in trouble! I looked out the kitchen window earlier this week and low and behold our Meyer lemon's starting to show some color. I mean it's almost impossible to see fruit until it starts to ripen but sure enough the color's changing. It means by Christmas we'll have a new crop of lemons ready to enjoy and I've yet to finish with the last one. It put a touch of fear into me, I have to admit.
You see last year said tree produced copious amounts so in January I put together 4 containers of lemon slices macerated in sugar and shoved them into the freezer so I'd be prepared to make Shaker Lemon Pies whenever the spirit moved me. Tom at Tall Clover Farm introduced us to this culinary wonder last year and we loved its tart sweet flavor so much it cried for a repeat - or several of them. The only problem is that if I decided to make a pie or 4, chances were very good I'd end up eating 99 percent of it so I thought I'd try using the same filling in a bar form instead - easier to pack into the big guy's lunch and I'd be less inclined to devour the whole shebang.
I bet you're wondering what the difference is between a Shaker lemon bar and your regular every day run of the mill lemon bar aren't ya? The shortbread crust is the same but the filling is made from the WHOLE lemon, not just the juice and a little zest. You have to plan ahead because the fruit slices are mixed with sugar and a little salt then left to sit at room temperature for at least 24 hours. Joined by beaten eggs, butter and a touch of flour, the result is a super intense mouth puckering sweet tooth loving bite of lemon bliss on steroids not unlike eating lemon marmalade and lemon curd all at the same time. Addictive, I promise.
Shaker Lemon Bars (adapted from Tom at tallcloverfarm.com)
24 hours in advance:
2 lemons (any kind - they don't have to be Meyer)
2 cups sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
Wash and dry lemons well. Finely grate zest into medium bowl. Slice lemons very thin using a very sharp knife or a mandoline slicer. Remove seeds and add slices to the zest. Stir in sugar and salt. Cover and let sit at room temperature for a minimum 24 hours.
1-1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup cold butter cut into cubes
Preheat oven to 350. Combine flour, sugar and salt in a medium sized bowl. Cut butter into dry ingredients and press into 9 x 12 pan (un greased). Bake at 350 for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown.
4 tablespoons butter, melted
3 tablespoons flour
Beat eggs, add butter and flour and beat well. Add to macerated lemons and mix well. Pour on top of baked crust and return to oven. Bake at 350 for 30 to 35 minutes or until tip of knife inserted into filling comes out clean. Cool and sprinkle with icing sugar. Slice into bars.