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Pucker-up, citrus lovers

Posted: April 23, 2013 - 3:17pm  |  Updated: April 24, 2013 - 4:05pm
Lemon or lime bars will cut easier if they are baked on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet and then cut with a pizza wheel. Citrus bars need little more than a dusting of confectioners' sugar for garnish, but pros like Peggy Beck, owner of Joyful Palate Catering and Events Planning goes for the gold by topping her "Luscious Lemonicious Squares," bottom right, with fruity red wine-blueberry sauce.
Lemon or lime bars will cut easier if they are baked on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet and then cut with a pizza wheel. Citrus bars need little more than a dusting of confectioners' sugar for garnish, but pros like Peggy Beck, owner of Joyful Palate Catering and Events Planning goes for the gold by topping her "Luscious Lemonicious Squares," bottom right, with fruity red wine-blueberry sauce.

One in a while, my enthusiasm for a particular kind of food or recipe cannot fit into one food column, so it spills over into another. This week’s piece on lemon and lime bars will be followed by next week’s feature on lemon and lime pies. Some of the bar and pie recipes come from you, the readers, and I can assure you, they are just too good not to try. Coconut-Key Lime Bars, which appears in Caroline Kennedy’s “Recipes from a Mother’s Heart, ” a cookbook Caroline compiled and edited in memory of her mother Iris Iona Sullivan Bain, are the best I’ve ever eaten. The same is true for Bluffton caterer Peggy Beck’s interpretation of the lemon bar, made with six eggs instead of the customary four and topped with fruity red wine-blueberry sauce. Without or without the sauce, Peggy’s lemon bars are indeed “lemoniscious” and you’ll love them – promise. I’ve also included is the lemon bar recipe I grew up with, simplified with the use of a food processor. It’s the one I turn to when I want to make a small pan of lemon bars – more than enough for a family of four. Next week look for Charlotte Ward’s tried and true recipe for Lemon Meringue Pie, as well as a new take on a creamy lime pie made with sweetened cream of coconut and a citrus shortbread cookie crust.

 

Sue Ade is a syndicated food writer with broad experience and interest in the culinary arts. She has worked and resided in the Lowcountry of South Carolina since 1985 and may be reached at kitchenade@yahoo.com.

Lemon Bars with Shortbread Crust

For the crust

1½ cups all-purpose flour

½ cup confectioners’ sugar

¼ teaspoon salt

¾ cup (1½ sticks) butter, softened, cut into 1-inch pieces

 

Adjust oven rack to middle position. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly butter a 9-inch square baking pan, then line with parchment paper. Pulse flour, confectioners’ sugar and salt in the work bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade. Add butter and process to blend, 8 to 10 seconds, then pulse until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Press crumbs firmly onto bottom of the pan and about 1/2-inch up the sides. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until edges are golden brown. While crust is baking, make the filling.

For the filling 

4 large eggs

1½ cups granulated sugar

¼ cup all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

½ cup fresh lemon juice (2 large or 3 medium lemons will yield about ½ cup juice)

Grated zest of one lemon

1/8 teaspoon salt

 

Place all filling ingredients in the same food processor work bowl used to make the crust. Process for several seconds until mixture is well blended. Pour mixture over warm crust. Lower temperature to 325 degrees and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until filling is just set and very lightly browned. Let cool completely on a wire rack, or refrigerate before lifting paper lining from pan; cut with a sharp knife or pizza cutter. Sprinkle with confectioners’ sugar before serving. Makes 12 bars or 16 squares.

Coconut-Key Lime Bars

Submitted by Pat Smith

Recipe source: "Iris Iona Sullivan Bain: Recipes from a Mother's Heart," compiled and edited by Caroline Kennedy, Bluffton

Crust

Canola oil spray

2 sticks unsalted butter, softened

¼ teaspoon salt

½ cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted

2 cups all-purpose flour

Coconut-Key Lime filling

4 large eggs, slightly beaten

1 tablespoon grated fresh key lime zest*

5 tablespoons fresh key lime juice*

2 drops green food coloring

2 cups granulated sugar

¼ cup all-purpose flour

1 cup shredded sweetened coconut

Confectioners’ sugar for dusting

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat a 13 x 9-inch baking pan with canola oil spray; reserve.

For crust: 

In a large bowl, blend butter and next 3 ingredients with a wooden spoon to make soft dough. Press evenly into the prepared pan. Bake15 to 20minutes, or until golden; cool on a wire rack.

For filling:

In a large bowl, combine eggs and next 5 ingredients; blend until smooth with a wooden spoon. Pour mixture over the prepared crust. Sprinkle with coconut. Reduce heat to 325 degrees and bake 25 minutes, or until firm. Let cool completely on a wire rack. Freeze 10 minutes so they cut cleanly. Cut into bars. Garnish with a dusting of confectioners’ sugar before serving. Yield: 3 dozen bars.

*Kitchen Ade Note: If you can’t locate Key limes, regular limes may be substituted.

Luscious "Lemonicious" Squares

Recipe courtesy Peggy Beck

Joyful Palate Catering & Events Planning, Bluffton, 422-0435

Crust

2 cups all-purpose flour

3/4 cup confectioners’ sugar

1 cup unsalted butter, softened

Filling

6 large eggs

2¾ cups granulated sugar

1 cup fresh lemon juice

2 teaspoon lemon zest (optional)

1 teaspoon baking powder

½ cup all-purpose flour

Blueberry Sauce (recipe follows)

 

For the crust: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a medium bowl, combine flour, confectioners’ sugar and butter, mixing until it comes together in small pea-sized pieces. Gently press the mixture evenly onto the bottom of a lightly buttered 13 x 9-inch baking pan. Bake until golden brown about 20 minutes. While crust is baking, make the filling. For the filling: In the mixing bowl of an electric mixer set to medium speed, beat the eggs and granulated sugar until smooth. Lower speed, adding lemon juice, zest, baking powder and flour, combining well. Pour the filling onto the crust and bake for an additional 25 minutes or until lightly brown and filling is set. (If the filling doesn’t set in 25 minutes, reduce the oven temperature to 325 degrees, checking every 5 minutes.) Let cool to room temperature. Serve with blueberry sauce.

Makes 3 dozen squares, depending on size of the square.

Blueberry Sauce

(This sauce is best made a day ahead of use.)

2 cups fruity red wine of choice

½ cup granulated sugar

1 cup water

¼ cup seedless blackberry jam, plus more to taste*

½ pint blueberries

 

In a medium saucepan, over medium heat, combine wine, sugar and water, cooking until mixture is reduced by half; add jam and blueberries. Remove pan from heat and pour sauce into a heatproof bowl. (The sauce will thicken as it cools.)

*Cook’s note: This sauce is not very sweet. Adjust sweetness by adding more jam – not sugar.

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