After I had been busily extolling the virtues of slices and bars available in New Zealand cafés while at work last week, my German Colleague asked if I had a recipe for Lemon Bars. Tan Slice and Ginger Crunch are things that I bake regularly but I had to admit that I had never tried to make the ubiquitous Lemon Slice as a lot of recipes involved separating eggs (I’m a lazy cook, I don’t do separated eggs given half a chance or another recipe) or condensed milk or too many lemons at a time when I didn’t have them.
Monday morning, after four eggs arrived back from the girls and I realised, post-cold recovery, that I had a bowl of lemons in the house, I decided to try out Julie Biuso‘s recipe for Sticky Lemon Slice. This fitted all the criteria – easy to make, uses up plenty of eggs from my stash and I had enough lemons, although next time I may add an extra lemon-worth of zest. If you’re cooking this in a fan oven, I would recommend that you cook it about 20°C lower than the regular oven temperature as mine was a little dried out on top and I would have preferred more luscious lemon-ness. Also, if you have some of the topping left over as I did, pour it into a couple of expresso cups, and sit them in a bain-marie in the same oven for approximately 20 minutes until set – it makes a fantastic cheat’s desert, especially served warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top.
Sticky Lemon Slice
Butter – 225g, softened
Icing sugar – 70g
Plain flour – 275g
Caster sugar – 400g
Eggs – 4, medium sized, beaten together
Grated rind of 2 or 3 lemons
Lemon juice – 90mls, strained
Plain flour – 4 tablespoons
Baking powder – 1 teaspoon
Icing sugar for dusting
Preheat the oven to 170°C. Butter and flour a 32cm x 21cm Swiss roll tin.
Cream the softened butter with the icing sugar using a hand-held mixer until light in colour. Sprinkle over the flour and continue to mix until the mixture starts to come together in a ball. Tip into the prepared tin and press out until it covers the base, lightly flouring your fingers if it is sticky. Bake for 15 minutes then remove from the oven.
While the base is cooling, put the caster sugar and eggs into a bowl and beat with a hand-held mixer for one minute. Add the lemon rind and juice then sprinkle the flour and baking powder over. Mix well until amalgamated but do not beat. Pour the topping over the base, pouring the last few drops from a jug with the tin on an oven shelf so that you don’t have to move it too far. Cook for a further 30-35 minutes, until firm and golden.
Cool in the tin, on a wire rack, then dust with icing sugar and cut into squares or bars. Store in an airtight container. Makes approximately 24 pieces.