Friday, May 13, 2016

Easy to Make Lemon-Raspberry Bars

Fresh and summery bars bursting with sunshine-sweet raspberries and bright, tangy lemons

Looking for a way to make your day a little brighter?!
Let's have a taste of sunshine with these light and refreshing, perfectly gooey, sweet and tangy lemon-raspberry bars. 
Now it's the best time to try this recipe. Especially if, like me, you have a tree in your yard exploding with juicy lemons. Ready to be picked. 
Today's recipe is one more way to take advantage of what nature offers us. After all, there are so many margaritas ... I mean, lemonade :) There are so many glasses of lemonade that you can drink in a single day. 
So let's get BAKING!

I simply love raspberries. With their high content of vitamin C, manganese, dietary fiber, and low sugar values, raspberries are healthy little nature's treasures. And they make lemon bars so much better. Especially if you are not a big fan of those way-too-sugary-and-still-kinda-sour lemon bars.
Did you know that the average recipe for lemon bars asks for 2 cups of sugar in the filling per batch?!? All that sugar is needed to balance the tartness of the lemon juice. I don't mind sugar. You know I love sweet desserts. But come on, TWO CUPS?! That's what... 400 grams of sugar (for all metric-minded people like me). I say that's pretty scary!
Anyways, with half the sugar and a layer of naturally sweet raspberries, we can still achieve a perfectly delicious combination of sweet and tangy.  

This recipe is uncomplicated and approachable to everybody. Just like the majority of my recipes, I hope :)
The crust is a simple flour/sugar/pinch-of-salt combination quickly mixed with melted butter, pressed to the bottom of the pan, and baked for 20 minutes. The two layers are also very easy to whip up.
Note, I like to use a bit of baking powder in the lemon filling to get a light, more bubbly consistency. Still dense and rich, but not as wet. For the raspberry layer, I passed the pureed berries through a sieve to remove the seeds. But you can skip that step if you don't mind the extra crunch of these pesky little things. 
Make sure to cool down and refrigerate before cutting into squares, or it will be messy! And, if you'd like to use powdered sugar on top, sprinkle right before serving... It will just melt if you do it ahead of time :)
Now, check out my video recipe here, and you'll be ready to try this too.

Ingredients: to make a 9x12 inch (22x30 cm) dessert, cut in 12 squares
For the crust:
  • 2 cups (300 gr) of all purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup (100 gr) of powdered sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 6 oz (170 gr) of unsalted butter, melted

For the lemon filling:
  • 6 whole eggs
  • 1 cup  (200 gr) of sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of baking powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/4 cup (35 gr) of flour
  • zest of one lemon
  • 1 cup (235 ml) of lemon juice (about the juice of 3 medium lemons)
For the raspberry layer:
  • 6 oz (170 gr) of fresh raspberry
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup (50 g) of sugar
  • 2 tablespoons of flour
  • powdered sugar for top
Preparation time: one hour, plus one hour to cool down before serving

1. Preheat the oven to 350° F (175° C). Melt the butter in a double boiler or in the microwave (set to 30 seconds, add 10 seconds interval until fully melted).
In a bowl mix the flour, powdered sugar and salt. Pour the melted butter over the dry ingredients and mix together until crumbly.
Grease a   9x12 inch (22x30 cm) pan with butter and flour (or spray) or line with parchment paper, like I did. Pour the mixture onto the pan, press down with the back of a spoon (or your fingers) and level. Bake at 350° F (175° C) for 20 minutes until just slightly brownish at the edges.

 2. Whisk six eggs until light and fluffy. Add the sugar and whisk some more ... a lot more! Until light and foamy. Add the baking powder, salt and flour. Mix gently.
Add the lemon zest, and juice. Mix until combined. Set aside.

3. Prepare the raspberry layer. Pureed the fresh raspberry and strain to discard the seeds. Whisk one egg with the sugar and the flour. Add the pureed raspberries and mix.

4. Pour the lemon mixture onto the crust when out of the oven.  Add spoonfuls of raspberry mixture to the top, and swirl with a knife.

5. Bake for about 25 minutes until set in the center. If you'd like a less moist, soft cake add 5 extra minutes or so. Let it cool completely, and chill in the refrigerator for one hour before cutting in squares.
Dust the top with powdered sugar right before serving (if you do it ahead of time, it will melt). And decorate with lemon slices and fresh raspberry if you wish.
Store in refrigerator.


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