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Friday, May 2, 2014

Lemon Cranberry Pie Bars

Lemon Cranberry Pie Bars
Lemon Cranberry Pie Bars
And in the blink of an eye, Brecken is three months old today! The older you get, the more quickly time seems to pass, but this has never been more true than in the days since Brecken has arrived. I knew babies change a lot in those early days and weeks, but watching it play out has been truly astounding. Every day is more fun, even though I’m nostalgic for the stages that have already passed. I head back to work on Monday and I’m more than a little mournful about the transition. Call me crazy, but I still miss Brecken when she sleeps, so spending all day apart is going to be rough (on me; I know she’ll be fine!).
Pin ItLemon Cranberry Pie Bars
Lest I get too emotional on this fine morning, let’s instead talk about something more cheery: these lemon cranberry bars! They’re pretty typical lemon bars—a shortbread crust topped with tangy lemon filling—but these are spiced up with the addition of fresh cranberries cooked to a puree and swirled throughout the batter. Besides brightening the appearance, they add a fun flavor element that only heightens the sweet tang you’re so familiar with. My “swirls” of cranberry were anything but perfect, but these still looked pretty on the serving dish and are a wonderful spring dessert to serve at your next dinner party, book club meeting, or BBQ!
Lemon Cranberry Pie Bars

Lemon Cranberry Pie Bars
from Food and Wine November 2013

for the filling:
-1 cup cranberries
-2 3/4 cup granulated sugar
-pinch of ground cloves
-1/4 cup water
-4 large eggs
-2 egg yolks
-1 tsp finely grated lemon zest
-1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
-3/4 cup all purpose flour
-confectioners' sugar, for dusting

for the crust:
-2 1/2 sticks cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes
-1/4 cup plus 2 tbsp light brown sugar
-1/4 cup plus 2 tbsp granulated sugar
-2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, sifted with 1/2 tsp kosher salt

1. To make the crust, cream the butter with the sugars at medium speed for 2 minutes. Reduce mixer speed to low and beat in the sifted flour-and-salt mixture.
2. Preheat oven to 350F. Line a 9 x 13 inch baking pan with parchment paper, allowing 2 inches of overhang on the 2 long sides. Press the dough into the prepared pan. If having difficulty pressing, cover with plastic wrap and press with the bottom of a cup. Don't let the corners get too thick. Refrigerate until firm.
3. Bake the crust for 30-35 minutes, until golden brown. Halfway through baking, use the back of a spoon to smooth the sides and corners of the crust. Transfer the pan to a wire rack to cool completely before filling.
4. To make the filling, simmer the cranberries with 1/4 cup of sugar, the cloves, and the water over medium-low heat until the berries pop and the liquid thickens, about 8 minutes. Meanwhile, make the lemon filling by whisking the remaining 2 1/2 cups of sugar with the eggs, egg yolks, lemon zest, lemon juice, and flour.
5. Mix 1 cup of the lemon filling into the cranberry mixture; pour the remaining lemon filling into the crust. Add lines of the lemon-cranberry mixture, using a knife or toothpick to swirl as desired. Bake for 35 minutes, or until set. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and allow to cool. Before serving, dust with confectioners' sugar, if desired. Store in the fridge for up to two days; serve chilled or at room temperature.