Nothing brightens your house like the smell of citrus and I’d had lemon bars on my mind for a few days and felt it was time to break out Old Blue and make something citrus-y. It had been a while since I’d made any type of dessert since the kitchen in the house we’re renting- A) depresses me, and, B) it has virtually no counter or storage space which makes the normally joyful, fun, therapeutic and exciting task of cooking, baking and recipe creating about as fun as having one of the Dementors from Harry Potter suck out your soul. I think I’m going to call my kitchen the Horcrux, as that pretty much sums up how The Stud Muffin and I feel about this kitchen.
Even though it’s not spring or summer I still like to enjoy Real Food baked goods and savory dishes with citrus as a main component. I’m all for seasonal cooking, but sometimes a girl just wants sunshine in a desert bar. Pretty much everyone and their Aunt Ruth has a lemon bar recipe, so there really isn’t much out there in the way of lemon bar variety. It’s a shortbread-like crust with a lemony-custard/curd-like type filling on top. Pretty standard. But what if I added some lime? Oh, better yet, what if I added lemon zest, lime zest, and some orange?! Whoa! And maybe I could push the envelope a little further and sprinkle in some orange zest, too.
I realize all that citrus might scare a less experience chef, but not me. Nope. I’m a push the envelope, live on the edge, microplane-citrus-zesting fool. And I’d do it again because these bars were MAGIC! (Every-little-thing-she-does-is-magic) ♫ ♪ ♬ ♪
One bite and you’re in Tonguetopia my Food Hippies. That’s right eyes rolling back in your head, goosebumps on the back of your neck, drool inducing, knee-weakening, make you shudder utopia in your mouth. Take that boring lemon bars! Triple citrus bars are going to be your new favorite dessert. Start getting yourself invited to pot lucks and baby showers my friends because these will make you mighty popular and everyone will want the recipe. Which will make me popular, which is a good thing, right?
So- let’s make some triple citrus bars, mmmkay? Oh, one final note- We prefer to eat these cold out of the fridge. The chill chest helps to make the lemon filling set and I like how it turns the crust into a buttery cookie with some bite to it. But you can eat them room temperature if you’d like.
The photo above is of the docked crust, prior to being pre baked. Dock it well folks!
- 1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted organic butter, melted
- 1 cup organic unbleached AP flour
- 1/4 cup organic powdered sugar
- 1/4 tsp. unrefined sea salt
- 1 tsp. each of lemon, lime and orange zest. 3 tsp. in total, *DIVIDED
- 2 pastured whole eggs, beaten
- 1 cup organic cane sugar
- 2 TB flour
- 1/2 tsp. baking powder
- 2 TB freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 2 TB freshly squeezed lime juice
- 2 TB freshly squeezed orange juice
- (*you'll use half the zest in the filling, 1/2 tsp. of the zest from each fruit)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Mix all ingredients in a bowl until combined, dump into your glass baking dish, and press evenly using the bottom of a glass, or your knuckles.
- Using the tines of a fork, dock the crust (poke holes in it to keep the crust from bubbling while pre baking).
- Bake for 20-25 minutes until just starts to brown.
- Meanwhile, during the last 5 minutes while the crust is pre-baking,combine the eggs, sugar, baking powder, flour and the remaining 1/2 tsp. of each zest in the bowl of your mixer. Mix on medium speed until well combined. The sugar may not fully dissolve, which is okay, but ensure it is mixed well with other ingredients.
- Stop mixer, scrape down sides, and return mixer to medium-low speed. Slowly add the juices of the lemon, lime and orange. Mix until combined.
- When crust is finished pre-baking, give the filling a quick stir to ensure all the zest hasn't sunk to the bottom of the mixing bowl, and pour filling over the hot crust.
- Immediately return to the oven. Set timer for 20 minutes. Rotate pan carefully halfway through baking. Check at 15 minutes. Bake until the filling just starts to get some color.
- Remove from oven, place on a cooling rack. Cool for 10 minutes and dust lightly with powdered sugar if desired.
- You will use 1/2 tsp. of zest from each fruit in the crust, and an additional 1/2 tsp. of zest from each fruit in the filling.
- I line my glass baking dish with parchment because it makes it easier to cut them after they've been refrigerated. You do not have to grease your pan- there is enough butter in the crust to ensure minimal 'stickage'.
- Use a glass baking dish, either 8x8", 9x9" or 9.5"x7" works for this recipe.