Happy Earth Day! Since most of us will probably want to spend today outside planting (weather permitting), this easy and quick Lemon Bar Recipe is perfect and it celebrates the Meyer Lemon tree which is one of Mother Nature’s wonders, right!
First, a brief history of me and Lemon Bar recipes. I don’t normally like desserts or sweet things but I do love a good lemon bar made with fresh lemons. I have a very prolific small, potted Meyer Lemon tree and have been basically wasting its fabulous lemons trying to make good lemon bars for the past year! I have read dozens of the “best lemon bar recipes” and made many of them with mostly dismal results. They come out too gooey or too sweet or with a hard, awful crust or all of those things. It shouldn’t be that hard to make good lemon bars but I clearly am a failure UNTIL now! I saw a recipe a few days ago by Molly O’Neill on the New York Times cooking blog for Pistachio Lemon Bars. It looked easy, I had Meyer Lemons, I had a bag of shelled pistachios. It was meant to be, right?
You know where this is going, of course. Happy ending😋. I made the recipe with some minor changes and WOW, success! They are perfect, delicious and SO easy even I didn’t screw them up. That’s a recipe worth sharing!! Don’t be put off by the idea of pistachios. They do change the color a bit, so these are not bright yellow but the nutty texture and flavor work really well with the lemon. I cut the sugar way down and tripled the lemon zest so they would be more lemony and less sweet. My awful lemon bar curse has been banished. If I can make them anyone can👍.
RECIPE for PISTACHIO LEMON BARS (adapted from Molly O’Neill’s recipe in the New York Times)
Ingredients for Crust:
- 1 cup flour
- 1/4 cup confectioners sugar
- 1/2 cup cold, unsalted butter, diced
- 1/4 cup finely chopped shelled, salted pistachios
Ingredients for filling:
- 2 eggs
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 2 TBSP flour
- 1 TBSP + 1 tsp grated lemon zest – Meyer Lemons if you have them
- 4 TBSP lemon juice (Meyer lemon or regular)
- 1/3 cup shelled, salted and finely chopped pistachios (pulse in food processor a few times. You don’t want it like flour, so stop when finely ground).m
- Confectioners’ sugar for top.
DIRECTIONS For Crust:
- Preheat oven to 350. Line an 8 inch square pan with parchment and lightly spread with butter.
- In a food processor, add flour, salt and confectioners sugar and pulse several times.
- Add diced, cold butter and pulse until crumbly.
- Add finely, chopped pistachios and pulse a few more times until well mixed.
- Pour crust mixture into your prepared pan and press firmly. Use a flat cup to make it firm and even.
- Bake for about 15-20 minutes until just lightly brown.
Directions for Filling:
- While crust is baking, stir together all the filling ingredients except the nuts. Grind those in the food processor until very finely chopped, then stir into rest of your ingredients. You could process all the pistachios at once for both crust and filling.
- Remove the baked crust from the oven, mix your filling again until well blended and pour into warm crust.
- Bake for about 15-20 more minutes, just until the center is slightly firm. Do not overtake, so check often starting at 15 minutes. They will be brown from the nuts, not yellow so don’t be alarmed by the color.
- When completely cool, cut into squares and sprinkle with Confectioners’ sugar.
- They are best eaten within a day or two. You can refrigerate for a day or so but I guarantee you won’t have them around for long!