Whole Lemon Bars and Lessons from Skiing

“I wish there was another day to go skiing.”

“I twisted my right knee while turning into the half pipe.”

These are things I never thought I would say. Last weekend I went to Tahoe with Chris, my cousin April, and her boyfriend James. I skied three days straight!

Squaw Valley

I honestly never thought I would have fun skiing. Maybe it’s because I tried snowboarding last year in Whistler and couldn’t for the life of me go on one run without falling on my butt. Though I still fall on skis, I can happily say that I am bruise-free (well except for that right knee). I went in for x-rays today and have a MRI scheduled for Monday (fingers crossed for good news).

Something definitely clicked for me last weekend. The first couple times I went skiing, I was like, what? You want me to go down this mountain with my weight forward. I don’t think so. And then something happened. I felt more confident. I was standing straight and leaning downhill. I moved my hips and I looked ahead to where my next turn would be instead of staring at my skis. If you’re a big time skier like Chris, you’re probably saying duhhh, that’s how you ski dummy. But to me, this was revolutionary!

I’m trying to apply this to life – standing up straight and going head first into things. I made some pretty big changes. More to come on that soon! In the meantime, let’s talk lemons.

It seems like I may have underestimated lemons. I usually use them in dressings, as garnish, or a squeeze here and there, but now I see they can be the centerpiece. These bars are very tart and bursting with flavor. What makes this recipe stand apart for me is how it uses whole lemon pieces. Less food waste! And what’s even better is that I didn’t use one mixing bowl. Just my tiny 4-cup food processor. It’s like that saying, when life hand you lemons, throw them in your food processor. I think that’s how it goes.

Whole Lemon Bars
Makes 1 8″ x 8″ pan
Recipe slightly adapted from Mrs. Regueiro’s Plate via The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook

Get
For the Crust:

  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into chunks

For the Filling:

  • 1 small-to-medium-sized lemon
  • 1 1/3 cups sugar
  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into chunks
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • powdered sugar

Bake
*Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 8-inch square baking pan with parchment paper so that the sides hang out. Lightly grease the pan with baking spray or butter and set aside.
*In the bowl of a food processor, combine the flour, sugar, and salt. Add the butter, and pulse until the mixture is sandy and will stick together when pinched. Place the dough crumbs in the prepared baking pan and pat evenly down. Poke the crust with holes using a toothpick or fork. Bake for 20 minutes, or until lightly browned.
*Meanwhile, prepare the filling. Slice lemon in half, and if the lemon pith (white part of the peel) is more than 1/4 inch thick – cut the whole lemon in slices. Otherwise, cut only half the lemon into slices and with the other half, remove the peel by placing the lemon, cut-side down, and removing the peel (with pith) with downward cuts.
*Remove all seeds from the lemon and toss flesh and peel pieces into the food processor with the sugar.  Run the machine until a lemon and sugar puree forms, about 2 minutes. Add the butter and run again until the mixture is smooth, scraping down the sides as needed. Add the eggs, cornstarch, and salt and pulse until fully combined.
*Pour the lemon mixture over the baked crust and bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until the filling is set. If the middle jiggles slightly, then they are finished baking. If the middle is jiggling a lot, bake for another 5 minutes or until the top is slightly browned.
*Let the bars cool completely on a wire rack or in the fridge. Gently lift the parchment paper and place on cutting board. Slice into squares and sprinkle with powdered sugar.

Enjoy!

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