I have a recipe for lemon bars that I really like. I like to think it was I who brought them back into fashion here in san francisco, but more realistically it was Tartine Bakery. They definitely serve more people in one day than I have possibly my whole “baking career”. Every now and then I thumb through their cookbook when I’m at Therapy (one of the best stores ever) and never quite bring myself to buy a copy. Maybe it’s because I know they are making a killing at their bakery (and newer restaurant) and feel no need to add to their success. But that might be a little harsh…. More likely, a flash of the overstuffed shelf of cookbooks I own enters my mind and I can’t seem to find a place for it. I’m glad Angela chose this recipe for January. Even though I tend to think of lemon bars as a summery dessert – I brought them to life in our kitchen on this sunny Sunday (if only we hadn’t eaten giant souffles for dinner we may have been able to enjoy them).
I was quite intrigued by this recipe. The shortcrust contains pine nuts – which sounded delicious and weird all at the same time. It also said you could use orange zest of a particular variety if available which was also interesting. Lemon bars with pine nuts and orange zest. I did not go searching for this specific orange but did opt to try the pine nuts. I wanted to do the crust a little different though and rather than leaving the nuts whole, I processed them until they resembled fine crumbs and mixed them in to the dough. I also wanted to make them into little tarts so I could experiment with different toppings. My lemon bars were more like mini lemon pies serving 4-6 people. Can’t forget to thank the landlord for having my oven fixed on Friday! I actually thought I might miss the January recipe because of it.
Do I like these more than my own recipe? I can tell you they are different enough to make an easy choose. I like my very simple crunchy crust with just enough lemon to satisfy a craving – but these are a good change. Thick crust and a almost double the amount of filling I would normally use – they were nice with the hint of nuts. The filling was also a little bit creamier than the normal. Very tart with a nice nutty depth of flavor. I might try serving one with chopped toasted pine nuts.
If you would like to try out the recipe from Tartine, find the original post here. And don’t forget to check out the rest of the lemon bars at the cOven blog.