Bakery-style bars from my kitchen to yours
Who can resist tangy, zesty lemon bars? These are that good… especially at Passover – they taste just like the real deal. Adding sweet and colorful pistachio nuts adds a little interest and sophistication.
The base of the bars is a short crust made with matzo cake meal, it’s a fine grind. Simply pat the crumbly dough in the bottom of a pan. Tip: smooth the crust with the back of a measuring cup.
- 2 sticks of unsalted butter or margarine (for parve) room temperature
- 1 3/4 cup matzo cake meal
- 1/2 cup pure cane sugar
- 5 large eggs (cage free if available)
- 2 cups pure cane sugar
- 6 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 2 teaspoons fresh lemon rind, minced or finely grated
- 5 tablespoons potato starch (can use tapioca flour)
- 1 tablespoon pure cane sugar
- 1/2 cup shelled pistachios, finely chopped
- fresh raspberries and mint sprigs for garnish
- Candied Lemon Peel* (see recipe below)
Grease a 9 x 13 ” pan or fluted pan with a removable bottom. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Beat together the buter or marjorine, 1 3/4 cups of matzo cake meal, and 1/2 cup of super fine sugar until combined (will look crumbly.)
Pat mixture evenly into the pan, covering the bottom. Use the bottom of a measuring cup to smooth. Bake the crust for 15 – 20 minutes until just turning golden. Take out of the oven.
Reduce the oven temperature to 325 degrees.
In the meantime beat the eggs with the sugar until light in color, about 2 minutes. Add the lemon juice and the lemon rind, the potato starch (or tapioca flour) and the nuts, combining well. Pour this mixture onto the partially cooked crust. Sprinkle with the 1 T. of sugar on the top. Return to the oven and bake an additional 30 – 35 minutes until the filling is just set. Cool completely. Cut into squares with a sharp serrated knife.
Garnish with candied lemon rind.
Serve with raspberries and mint sprigs.
Sprinkle top of bars with confectioner’s sugar (source kosher for Passover if needed.).
To make traditional lemon bars, substitute regular flour for the matzo cake meal.
*Candied Lemon Peel:
- 1 ½ lemons, just the rind, rind removed with a peeler, cut into long julienned strips (no white pith)
- 1 cup natural cane sugar, divided in half
- ¼ cup filtered water
Place the julienned lemon rind* in a small pot, cover with filtered water. Bring to a boil. Strain and repeat – cover with filtered water again, strain. In the pot add 1/2 cup sugar and 1/4 cup filtered water. Bring to a boil, stirring until the sugar has dissolved.
Add the drained lemon rind and simmer for 15 minutes until the lemon rind is translucent. remove to a small bowl to cool. When cool, add the remaining 1/2 cup sugar to a medium sized plate. With a fork, take out a few pieces of rind, roll in sugar to coat, remove dipped pieces to a large plate lined with waxed paper.
Give them some space on the plate. They are ready to use when completely dry. Store in a clean glass container. Use within a few months.
* Straight edged vegetable peeler is recommended.
This recipe may not be reproduced without the consent of its author, Karen Sheer.
Makes 24 – 36 bars