Farmers Market Finds: Brûléed Meyer Lemon Bars

I recently moved from New York to the (occasionally) sunny shores of the San Francisco Bay Area. One of the numerous perks of living here: the abundance of well-stocked farmers markets. I'm pretty sure I ate two avocados a week for the first couple of months I was here and I can't wait for nectarine season to begin. 

One particularly Californian farmers market resident is the Meyer lemon. They might not be anything special here, but they were always difficult to find everywhere else I have lived so I'm probably a little irrationally excited about them. I remember buying a Meyer lemon cake mix on a trip to California many years ago and weighing out portions of it as a way of rationing said cake mix.

A cross between a regular lemon (also more thrillingly known as a "Eureka" lemon) and a mandarin orange, the Meyer lemon has a unique herbal citrus scent. The skin is a cheerfully warm yellow. It's also a little sweeter than your typical lemon so you could feasibly eat it plain, though I found it still to pack quite a pucker.

I wrote a post about lemon squares the last time I made them (in 2009!) This time around, they showcase the mellower flavour of the Meyer lemon. I also brûléed the tops; the caramelized sugar adds a satisfyingly crispy texture. I've found that a broiler gets the job done just fine (until I get my hands on a kitchen torch, that is). The only downside is that the caramel will lose its snap if you allow the bars to sit for too many hours, so brûlée them as needed!

Recipe after the jump!

Meyer Lemon Bars

For the crust:
1 cup (230 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup (100 grams) sugar
2 cups (250 grams) all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt

For the filling:

4 large eggs
3/4 cup (150 grams) sugar
2/3 cup fresh meyer lemon juice (about 3-4 meyer lemons)
Zest of 3 meyer lemons
2/3 cup (83 grams) all-purpose flour

Additional sugar, for brûléed topping

To make the crust:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 9-inch square baking pan and line with parchment paper.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment or in a large bowl with an electric hand mixer, beat the butter and sugar on medium high speed until light and creamy. Add the flour and salt and mix until combined.
Press the dough into the prepared baking pan and chill for 30 minutes. Bake until just beginning to turn golden brown, about 15-20 minutes. Let cool.
To make the filling:
Whisk together the eggs, sugar. lemon juice, lemon zest, and flour in a medium bowl. Pour into the cooled crust and bake for 5 minutes past when the middle has set (test this by jiggling the pan, if the center does not move, it is set), or 30-35 minutes total.
Let cool for about 30 minutes, then use the parchment paper to lift the bars out of the pan and let cool completely on a wire rack.
To brûlée the lemon bars:
It's best to work in small batches, so slice them into servings first. Sprinkle sugar on a few bars at a time and use a kitchen torch to melt and caramelize it. You may also use your oven broiler, watching carefully to make sure they don't burn.
Brûlée right before serving for best results. Store lemon bars in the fridge.

Recipe adapted from Ina Garten

1 comment:

  1. i'm so jealous of all the farmer's markets you have in Cali...it's blizzard-ing here in Chicago :(
    these look soooo good! :)