Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Raspberry Lemonade Crumb Squares

We're back home after a much needed and well deserved holiday to Florida. How I pine for you right now Florida sunshine. PINE. Currently, it's 28º, but feels about minus 113º with the wind chill. It's just cruel.

When we stepped off the plane at 8pm last Sunday evening, we were smacked in the face with 75º weather. I embraced it. Hard. Unfortunately, when we arrived at our home for the next 7 days, we found the air conditioner dead as a cockroach in a seedy Miami hotel.


So, lover and I did what anyone respectable adult would do. We put the kids to bed, opened all the windows, pulled out some lawn furniture, filled up the kiddie pool, poured ourselves a drink, tore our clothes off, and soaked our travelled out tootsies. It was fabulous.

I went to the shop the next morning to grab some essentials for the week and saw these amazing bars, staring up at me, with big, doughy eyes. 

Raspberry Lemonade Bars. Are you kidding me?  

After a few tweaks in the kitchen, I created athese are so much better that the shop version. 

I've made a request that the sunshine be shipped overnight delivery for a 7am arrival to enjoy these bars and recreate the full effect of our holiday.

It'll be 58º tomorrow.

Ask and you shall receive. 

Recipe adapted and modified from King Arthur Flour

2 cups unbleached all purpose flour
¾ cup confectioners' sugar
½ teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons lemon zest
1 cup butter, softened to room temperature

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

5 large eggs
¾ cups lemon juice, freshly squeezed
1 tablespoon lemon zest
3 cups raspberries, pureed and strained to make about ¾ to 1 cup seedless puree - recipe calls for frozen, but I used fresh. Amazing. For a rich pink color, use the full cup.
2 cups sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons cornstarch

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a 9-inch baking dish with foil or parchment paper. You don't want to skip this step.

To make the crust: In a bowl, KAF recommends to beat butter first, then mix in the remaining ingredients until the dough holds together when you squeeze it. I mixed the flour, sugar, and butter together. It turned out fine.

Reserve 1 cup of dough and press the rest into the bottom of prepared pan. Prick the dough all over with a fork.

Bake the crust for 22 to 26 minutes, or until it's golden. Mine took 24 minutes in the oven for golden deliciousness.

To make the filling: In a bowl, whisk together the eggs, lemon juice, lemon zest, and raspberry puree. Whisk cornstarch with the sugar and salt, then stir into juice mixture. Do this to prevent clumping.

Pour filling over the baked crust.

Bake the bars in oven for 15 minutes. Leaving pan in the oven, carefully pull out the rack and sprinkle reserve crumb topping over raspberry filling. Bake for another 15-18 minutes or until the middle is set. Don't worry if some of the topping falls into filling. As long as you don't put crumb on top while it's completely liquid, it's fine.

Resist temptation and cool completely before cutting.

Yields: 16 servings

Happy Baking!

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