Last night my wife tried out a new recipe for lemon bars and they came out good. Shopping in our local Wal-Mart we came across a bag of Meyer lemons, something never before seen in our rural version of the big box store. Being more in the country than in the city in my town, our selection at the store is somewhat limited, and while it is easy to drive into Oklahoma City and pick these up at other stores, it was quite the novelty to see all the way out here, and in the spirit of bringing new and varied selection to our town, we had to pick some up.
This was a complete impulse buy, which left us with the problem of how to use these little gems. While there are dozens, if not thousands, of recipes to use with lemons, we wanted something that would show off the unique sweet, tart flavor combination of this fruit. Meyer lemons are the result of cross-breeding between oranges and lemons, and were popularized in the kitchens of California’s Chez Panisse back in the seventies. I have a strange taste when it comes to citrus, my tastes coming and going, and I had yet to have a lemon bar that I actually enjoyed, while those same bar recipes made with key limes could be some of my favorite snacks. That being said, it may also be best to reveal my love hate relationship with pastries and baked goods as well. In general I am not a fan of most pastries, cakes, or breads, but I will try them when offered, and the times that I occasion upon ones that I actually enjoy, they are all I want to eat.
I was hesitant at first when my wife suggested lemon bars, but she is a fantastic cook and I trust her in these decisions most of the time. Then I became even more hesitant when I learned that the original inspiration came from a Paula Deen recipe, because if there are two things I can’t get past they are too much butter and too much salt. Luckily this recipe only called for two sticks of butter per pan, y’all. I will link to the original recipe below, though I won’t be including the changes made here; a chef must have some secrets. The crust is a simple butter, flour, and sugar mix, and all of the actual lemon flavor resides in the icing itself. Needless to say, as with all my wife’s desserts, they were wonderful. I sucked up my fear, tried them, and actually enjoyed Paula Deen’s butter bread. I’m probably about to eat one now as they are almost all gone, and like all deserts I decide to like, I can’t help myself.
The unmodified recipe is available here: