By: Dawn M. Richards
I have quite a thing for citrus-y, tangy, tart des- serts. Whether we are talking pie, cakes, ice cream, or any other confectionery delight, my taste buds have a distinct affinity for citrus — particularly lemon.
Last summer while visiting New York, I made my usual pit stop by one of my favorite bakeries. En route to dinner, I interrupted
the order of the evening and indulged in a little pre-dinner dessert with the most scrumptious and perfectly sweet-and-tart lemon bar.
The memory of that lemon bar, in all of its mouth-watering goodness, has remained with me like a sweet dream, until I could no longer resist the urge to recreate my own version and savor those flavors up close and personal once more. Fresh lemon juice and lemon zest deliver an undeniably lemony punch, with a little extra flair via the thyme shortbread crust, finished with a decadent lemon glaze to bring it all together.
Baking these delicacies was a sweet endeavor that filled my kitchen with fond memories and one pan of, dare I say, lemon-thyme perfection.
1/2 lb. unsalted butter at room temperature 1/2 cup sugar 2 cups flour
2 tablespoons fresh thyme, finely chopped 1/4 teaspoon salt
7 large eggs 2 1/2 cups sugar 3 tablespoons grated lemon zest 1 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice 1 cup flour Fresh thyme sprigs, for garnish
2 cups confectioner’s sugar 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (around the juice of 2 lemons)
Preheat the oven to 350°F and grease a 9 by 13 by 2-inch baking pan.
For the crust, cream the butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer until light. Combine the flour, thyme and
salt and, with the mixer on low, add to the butter until just mixed. Dump the dough onto a well-floured board and gather into a ball. Flatten the dough with floured hands and press it into the greased baking pan, building up a 1/2- inch edge on all sides. Chill.
Bake the crust for 15 to 20 minutes, until very lightly browned. Cool on a wire rack. Leave the oven on.
For the lemon layer, whisk together the eggs, sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice, and flour. Pour over the crust and bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or about five minutes beyond the point where the filling is set. Cool to room temperature.
For the lemon glaze, whisk together the confectioner’s sugar and lemon juice. Add more or less sugar and/
or juice for desired consistency. Pour glaze over lemon bars and spread with a spatula to cover evenly. Allow the glaze to set for at least 20- 30 minutes. Cut into squares and garnish with fresh thyme, if desired. Serve and enjoy! AT