Better Lemon Bars

Vera really knows what she is talking about. Her lemon bars (based on a recipe from Alice Medrich) were just about the best I have ever made.

The filling was thick and firm, with the right balance of sweet and tart. While most lemon bars get a thin crust on top of the lemon filling, this did not. Presumably, this is because of the low baking temperature.

The only thing I was less than completely happy about was the crust, but I am never happy about the crust on lemon bars. I think I would like to make this with a tart crust instead of the usual cookie crust. The crust was better than many lemon bar crusts in that it did not compete with the filling and it was nicely crisp. Even so, I thought of the crust as merely a vehicle for the filling.

Vera’s idea of baking the crust in a tart pan is really brilliant. It prevents the filling from seeping under the crust and glueing it to the pan and it makes for a much nicer presentation in general.

I served these bars with Chocolate Nemesis cake (which is stupendous, BTW), and people could not stop eating these lemon bars. These lemon bars got absolute raves.

Update: I made these again using Joe Pastry’s crust recipe. I actually made two tarts: one with Joe’s lemon curd filling and one with Alice’s filling. Joe’s crust is excellent: light and flaky. Alice’s filling is milder than Joe’s, which is super tart.

Compared side by side, Joe’s bars are noticably darker looking than Alice’s:

I can’t decide which filling I like better.

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