Monday, August 23, 2010

Lemon Lime Bars

        I know I’ve mentioned Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito before.  They’re two of my heros because they fled the Advertising business for a bakery in Red Hook, Brooklyn and haven’t looked back.  Instead, they’re the authors of one of Andrew’s go-to sources for fantastic baking recipes: “Baked: New Frontiers in Baking” (Stewart, Tabori & Chang 2008). (See my “Black Forest Cookies” post.) Matt and Renato’s bio says that “after years in the Advertising business”, they decided to open a bakery in 2005.  Well, all I can say is baking must make you stay forever young because they look like they just got out of school.  One look at them and I think you too will highly recommend their career change to anyone who wants to improve their looks and their lives.

        If you love Lemon Bars, this recipe for Lemon Lime Bars  will double your pleasure.  And then there’s the crust.  I am admittedly a huge fan of anything coconut and the inclusion of this crunch factor in that old familiar Graham Cracker crust gives these bars yet another step up from the ordinary.   And the flavor of lemons and limes makes this a perfect summer finish to a great summer meal.  Here’s the recipe:

Recipe for Lemon-Lime Bars from Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito

For the Graham Cracker Coconut Crust

1 c. sweetened shredded coconut
2 c. graham cracker crumbs
2 T. firmly packed dark brown sugar
1 stick of unsalted butter, melted (use 5T of butter if you're cutting the recipe in half)
For the Lemon Lime Filling

11 large egg yolks
3 large eggs
1-3/4 c. sugar
3/4 c.fresh lemon juice
2 T fresh lime juice
2 T grated lemon zest
2 T grated lime zest
1-1/2 sticks of unsalted butter, softened and cut into small pieces
1/3 cup heavy cream
To Make the Crust:
1. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Butter or spray the bottom and sides of a 9x13 inch baking pan.
2. Line a baking sheet with parchment and toast the coconut until it starts to turn golden (7-10 minutes). Remove from the oven, toss the coconut and return it to the oven for 3 more minutes, or until it is nicely toasted.
3. Use a food processor to crush the graham crackers into crumbs or place the graham crackers in a zip top freezer bag and crush with a rolling pin into fine crumbs.
4. Put the graham cracker crumbs in a bowl. Using your hands, add the coconut and the brown sugar and mix well. Add the melted butter, and still using your hands, firmly press the crust into the prepared pan. Using a measuring cup as a press will help make an even crust.
5. Refrigerate the crust for 15 minutes, and then bake it for 10 minutes. Cool the crust before adding the filling.
To Make the Filling
1. Increase the oven temperature to 325 degrees.
2. Mix the egg yolks, eggs, sugar, lemon and lime juices and zests in a deep clean metal pot. Cook over medium heat, whisking constantly until the mixture reaches 180 degrees. This may take 10 minutes.
3. Remove from the heat and whisk in the butter and the cream. Pour through a fine-mesh sieve directly onto the cooled crust. Make certain that you scrape the underside of the sieve to capture ALL of the filling. Tap the pan to make an even layer.
4. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, or until the filling is just set. Test for "set" by shaking the pan. When it barely wiggles, it is done. Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for a least two hours. Cut into squares.

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