Tartine (Meyer) Lemon Bars on Brown Butter Shortbread

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Combine Meyer lemons, sugar, eggs, and flour and you have food of the gods. I continue on my crazy search for the perfect lemon bar recipe.

Today's candidate: Tartine's Lemon Bars on Brown Butter Shortbread (page 149)

The dough is pretty simple. Mix flour, powdered sugar, and room temperature butter until a dough forms. You can put in optional pine nuts...but I opted out since my co-worker can't have nuts. Press it into a 9 x 13 pan.

Tartine's cookbook says, "we bake the shortbread base until it turns golden brown, producing a deeper butter flavor and crispier crust." Oh, I did something wrong... The directions tell you to place pie weights on the dough. I've never done this before so I grabbed my brand-new pie weights and put them on top of the parchment paper that protected my unbaked dough. There weren't enough so I grabbed some pinto beans and added them. But I think (correction: I know) I used way, way too many beans... and the directions never said to remove the weights...so it didn't brown. Can it brown under weights (if I didn't use so many) or do I need to remove all the weights about half-way through baking? I finally removed the weights with about 5 minutes to go, and let it bake for an extra 10-15 minutes to get golden brown.

The topping was very easy. Lots and lots of lemon juice (I used Meyer lemons from my father's tree) and zest. It also had 6 whole eggs and one extra yolk. The result was crazy tart and sweet. I wasn't crazy about the crust, but then I didn't get the proper Tartine-like crust due to my pinto bean excesses. I might try them again before the end of Meyer lemon season...

Zoe Francois, author of a great new book, "Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day" made some absolutely beautiful Tartine lemon bars by adding meringue. I'll have to give that a shot next time!
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Unknown said... [Reply to comment]

OK Mary, pie weights. Yes, you have to take them off about 7 minutes before pie would be done to increase browning. Also, when you put the weights on you should "rotate" them, every 5 minutes or so, so that the crust does not "bubble" up unevenly.


Rebecca said... [Reply to comment]

These look gorgeous! I'll be posting a variation and linking to you tomorrow :). Thanks for the inspiration!

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