“I can’t wait for you to get here Elise. We can cook! We can make pies and cakes and cookies and more yummy things,” exclaimed my young friend Alden as we were talking on the phone last week.
Between Easter, a Patriots Day parade and museum trips, we finally got a chance to do some baking. Reilly (8) and her sister Alden (6) helped me make scrumptious lemon bars that have candied ginger in the crust from a recipe in a 1987 issue of Gourmet magazine.
To make the bars first you make and pre-bake the shortbread crust with specks of candied ginger. Then you make the lemon filling, pour into the pre-baked crust, and bake again, until the filling has set. The original recipe called for sprinkling the whole thing with powdered sugar, which we didn’t feel was necessary.
Reilly grating the lemon
- 1 1/2 sticks (3/4 cup) unsalted butter, softened
- 1/3 cup powdered sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest
- 1/2 cup minced crystallized ginger
- 3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
- Pinch of salt
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 3 large eggs
- 1 1/3 cups granulated sugar
- 6 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
- 3 Tbsp all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
1 Make the crust batter: Preheat the oven to 350°F. Using an electric mixer, beat the butter. Add 1/3 cup of sifted powdered sugar, and beat until light and fluffy.
Beat in half a teaspoon of the lemon zest, the ground ginger, the crystallized ginger, and a pinch of salt.
Add 1 1/2 cups of flour in batches, a 1/4 cup at a time, beating after each addition. Continue to beat the crust batter until it is well combined.
2 Bake the crust: Spread the crust batter evenly over the bottom of a 13×9-inch baking dish. Bake at 350°F for 12 to 15 minutes, or until browned lightly around the edges.
3 Make the lemon batter: While the crust is baking, whisk together the eggs, granulated sugar, lemon juice, 1/2 teaspoon of lemon zest, 3 Tbsp of flour, the baking powder, and 1/4 teaspoon of salt in a medium sized bowl. Whisk until well blended.
4 Pour batter into pre-baked crust and bake: Pour the lemon batter over the pre-baked crust. Bake at 350°F for 15 to 20 minutes or until the top is golden.
If you want, sift a little additional powdered sugar over the top.
Let the lemon bars cool in the pan on a rack. Cut it into 36 pieces.