Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Pink Lemonade Bars

As a kid, Memorial Day always marked the beginning of summer.  School was almost over for the year, and the days got longer and warmer.  That's not exactly how it works in the Pacific Northwest (we won't get summer until July 5, really...)  However, Memorial Day still brings to mind cooking out on a sunny day - bratwurst, hamburgers, potato salad, beer, and some fruity dessert.  And Smitten Kitchen has supplied the perfect dessert for a summer get together - Pink Lemonade Bars.

A sweet shortbread crust with a tangy, sweet, lemony filling - yum.  And no food coloring!  There's fruit in it, so it's healthy, right?

It was a pretty easy recipe overall.  However, I will admit that I stupidly struggled with the raspberry puree a bit.  After liquefying the berries in the food processor, I attempted to strain out the seeds with my fine-mesh sieve, as directed.  Nothing actually came through the sieve, despite me pressing on it a bit.  Hm.  So I tried a slightly larger fine-mesh sieve, and only after some manipulation did the puree begin to come through.  But then, to my dismay, some seeds made it through as well.  Gah!  So then I went back to my original fine-mesh sieve, and got what I needed.

I'm sure there was some user error, and it left me with quite a mess, but in the end, it all worked out quite well.  Next time, I might try it with some cooked-down strawberries for the 'pink', just to see if it's any easier.  And also to try a different flavor.

These bars were a delightful finish to our "inner-city grilling" (using a broiler for brats works amazingly well).  I'm sure these bars will be quite the summer favorite!

Pink Lemonade Bars
(from Smitten Kitchen)
Makes 1 8x8 pan - Number depends on how large you cut them!

For the base:
1/4 cup (50 grams) granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest
1/8 teaspoon table salt
1/2 cup (4 ounces or 115 grams) unsalted butter, cut into chunks
1 cup (125 grams) flour

For the lemonade layer:
1 cup (about 5 ounces or 140 grams) raspberries
2 large eggs
3/4 cup (150 grams) granulated sugar
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice; this should only require 1 large or 2 small lemons
1/3 cup (40 grams) all-purpose flour
Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting

Preheat your oven to 350°F (180°C) and line an 8x8x2-inch baking pan with parchment, letting it extend up two sides. Butter or coat the bottom and sides with a nonstick spray and set the pan aside.

Make the base: In a food processor, pulse together the sugar, zest and salt until combined. Add the butter and pulse until it is evenly dispersed in the dough. Add the flour and pulse the machine until it’s just combined and the mixture is crumbly. Press the dough into the prepared pan and about 1/2-inch up the sides. Don’t worry about making this perfect; mine was an uneven mess and nobody can tell. Bake for 15 minutes, until lightly browned at edges. Let cool on a rack while you prepare the filling (though no need for it to be completely cool when you fill it). Leave oven on.

Make the pink lemonade layer: Puree the raspberries in your food processor until they’re as liquefied as they’ll get. Run the puree through a fine-mesh sieve, trying to press out all the raspberry puree that you can, leaving the seeds behind. I ended up with 1/3 cup strained puree; don’t worry if you get a smidge less, you won't need it all.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, sugar and lemon juice until smooth. Whisk in 3 tablespoons of raspberry puree*. Stir in flour. Pour into cooling crust and return pan to the oven, baking the bars until they’re set (they’ll barely jiggle) and slightly golden at the edges, about 25 to 30 minutes. Cool completely before cutting into rectangles. (You can speed this up in the fridge.)  Dust with powdered sugar just prior to serving.

*So, this is just to note that clearly the amount of red tint one gets from the berries can vary greatly by the berries. If yours looks crazy saturated with pink and you’ve only added two tablespoons puree, you can always add another tablespoon lemon juice instead of the last spoonful of raspberry. On the flipside, if your berries seem pale, you can always add one less tablespoon of lemon juice and one more of the raspberries. The main thing is that you keep the amount of liquid (lemon juice + raspberry puree) at 7 tablespoons. More, and the bars might seem too soft. Less, they might seem too eggy.


1 comment:

  1. LOVE Deb and Smitten Kitchen. I have been meaning to try this recipe for a long time, but need summer weather to justify making it! Come on, Seattle!