My friend Sarah is the queen of lemon bars.
In her home, lemon bars are a food group unto themselves. Sarah has given her blessing to this variation on the traditional lemon bar recipe. Gene, lucky husband of the lemon-bar queen and lemon-bar connoisseur in his own right, says these are great, too. So there it is. Two thumbs up.
This recipe was inspired by a recipe in Dorie Greenspan’s Baking Chez Moi, a wonderful baking book that includes many of the recipes that Greenspan is famous for baking in her Paris kitchen. The blurb on her cookbook cover says that she lives in Westbrook, Connecticut, New York City and Paris. <Sigh>
Recipe: Lemon and Apple Tart
2/3 Cup Sugar
2 Large eggs (at room temperature)
3 Medium Apples
1/2 Stick unsalted butter (melted and cooled)
Prepare a partially-baked pie crust (I used the recipe for a tart crust that appears below. That crust includes some grated lemon rind in the crust, giving this lemon tart an extra blast of lemon flavor. I precooked the crust for 15 minutes.)
Juice the lemons being sure that you have at least 1/4 cup of fresh juice. Set aside.
Using a peeler, peel the lemon rinds from the lemons and then grate the rinds. (I have a small coffee mill that I use for grating spices and rinds.)
Using your hands, rub the lemon rinds and sugar together in a large bowl.
Break the eggs into the bowl with the lemon rinds and sugar and, using a whisk, beat the mixture. Then, add lemon juice gradually while whisking.
Peel apples and grate them. (I used my food processor. Mix the grated apples into the batter and then whisk in the melted and cooled butter. Pour the batter into your partially-baked pie crust.
Bake at 400 degrees F. for 40-45 minutes or until the center of the tart is firm in the middle and the edges of the tart crust turn a nice shade of brown.
Recipe: Tart Crust
1 1/2 C. all-purpose flour
1 1/8 Stick cold unsalted butter (cut into 1/2-inch pieces)
1/4 C. sugar
1/2 t. salt
1/2-1 t. finely grated fresh lemon zest
2 Large egg yolks
Directions: Tart Crust
Mix flour, butter, sugar, salt and lemon zest in your food processor. Mix until flour mixture resembles coarse meal with some small blueberry-sized lumps. Add egg yolks one at a time and process until dough mixture begins to clump and forms a ball.
Divide your dough into two parts. Smear each portion once with the heel of your hand to help distribute the fat in the dough. Combine the two pieces of dough into one ball.
There is no need to roll this dough. Using your fingertips, press the dough into a tart pan. Put the pan into your refrigerator for about 30 minutes to chill the dough.
To pre-cook the tart crust, put pan into a 400 degree F. oven for 20 minutes. Remove and fill with apple-lemon batter. Use a spatula to spread the apple-lemon mixture evenly in the crust. Return tart to oven and bake lemon-apple tart for 40-45 minutes until tart is firm in the middle and the edges of the tart crust are a nice shade of brown. If you crust is turning too brown, remove from the oven and drape aluminum foil over the edges of the crust. Return to oven and continue baking.