…from the Perspectives’ Kitchen
How you doin’? One of the true pleasures of summertime is a tall, frosty glass of just-made lemonade. And right now, with strawberries in full season, lemonade sweetened with fresh, crushed strawberries is the best warm weather drink (okay, it can even be a little better with a shot of vodka).
Likewise, we love lemon bars this time of year including the type of lemon curd served in Paris cafés. Great as they are we are never ones to shy away from putting our own twists on classic recipes. At the risk of trying to compete with those French eateries, try my delightful, strawberry-kissed lemon bars with a crumbly shortbread crust laced with lemon zest.
For the curd, use a traditional stovetop cooking method, using one whole cup of puréed fresh strawberries, as well as a big splash of lemon juice, sugar, eggs and a bit of cornstarch. After a few minutes of whisking and boiling the mixture, strain it through a sieve to get rid of any little berry bits and seeds. Then then stir in half a stick of butter, for richness, and a tablespoon of lemon zest, for extra zing. It bakes up sweet-tart and creamy, with pink hue reminiscent of beautiful summer sunsets and slices of ripe, red watermelon.
You now have a sweet and tangy curd, but the best part is the perfect ratio of curd to crust. The shortbread crust is a little thicker than most so there’s plenty of salty, buttery and slightly citrusy crustiness on the bottom to balance out the puckery sweetness of the strawberry-lemon curd atop. These bars are perfect for summer barbecues and brightening up the dessert table at any special event.
Prep time: 30 minutes
Bake time: 25-30 minutes, then 15 to 20 minutes for the second bake
Cool time: 2 hours
Yield: 9 bars
For the crust
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 tablespoon fresh lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1/2 cup cold and cubed unsalted butter
For the strawberry-lemon curd
1 cup hulled and quartered fresh strawberries
1-1/2 teaspoon cornstarch
3/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice, divided
1 cup granulated sugar
3 large eggs plus 2 egg yolks
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, diced
1-1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon zest
1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar, for dusting
To make the crust
To make the strawberry-lemon curd
ChefSecret: You can use the same recipe substituting lime, orange or grapefruit instead of the lemon… just follow the same recipe
Quip of the Day: Q. Did you hear about the hip New York hotspots for citrus fruits?
A. They’re called Lemon bars.
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To you and everyone dear to you, be strong, be positive, stay well, stay safe and be kind. Take a breath and count your blessings, and if you have a little extra to share with others, please consider donating to Feeding America and/or American Red Cross.
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©PERSPECTIVES/The Consulting Group, LLC, 2023
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