Last night was my roommate and her pianist friend's recital, and it was wonderful! I'm so proud of her! The music was beautiful and perfectly intense, and it was quite a treat to actually hear the pieces in their entirety since I usually hear them coming at me through the shared wall of our rooms.
For the reception, I wanted to pay homage to Maria's favorite flavor combination--lemon and ginger. After living with her for two plus years or so, she's definitely instilled in me an appreciation of ginger that I didn't quite have before. Our house is always stocked with ginger beer or ginger candies or crystallized ginger, and oftentimes, the kitchen smells of these gorgeous lemon-ginger scones that Maria likes to make. So, I decided to make lemon bars with ginger shortbread, bursting with fresh lemon flavor, and held together with a crystallized ginger-encrusted, fresh ginger-packed shortbread crust. --Double the ginger, and the perfect surprise compliment to the sweet, lemony custard. I sort of didn't want to take it to the reception so that we could eat it all by ourselves at home! (Sadly, it got devoured at the reception, so no leftovers either!)
Anyways, here's wishing you all a wonderful end to the week and a raucous Cinco de Mayo and a Happy Mother's Day, preferably with ginger-lemon bars that you don't have to share with anyone else! :-)
[Don't forget to go and vote for desserts for breakfast for Best Baking/Desserts Blog in Saveur's Best Food Blog Awards!]
Read on for recipe....
Lemon Bars with Ginger Shortbread
makes one 13 x 9" pan
inspired by lemon bars from Tartine
1/2 cup (55 gr) powdered sugar
1 1/2 cups (215 gr) AP flour
1/4 tspn salt
3/4 cup (170 gr) unsalted butter, at room temperature
15 gr freshly grated ginger (see note)
60 gr crystallized ginger, chopped
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour the bottom and sides of one 13 x 9" pan. Set aside.
2. In a mixer bowl with the paddle attachment, combine the powdered sugar, flour, and salt.
3. Add the butter and freshly grated ginger to the flour mixture, and mix on low until a smooth dough begins to form.
4. Press the dough into a thin layer at the bottom of the prepared pan. Scatter the chopped crystallized ginger on top, pressing it very lightly into the dough.
5. Place a piece of parchment paper over the crust and fill with pie weights (or beans). Bake in the oven for 25-35 minutes, rotating once halfway through, until the crust is a deep golden brown around the edges.
Meanwhile, make the filling:
1/2 cup (70 gr) AP flour
2 cups (400 gr) sugar
freshly grated zest of two or three lemons
1 cup + 2 Tbspn freshly squeezed lemon juice
6 large eggs
1 egg yolk
pinch of salt
1. In a bowl, whisk to combine the flour, sugar, lemon zest, and lemon juice.
2. In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, egg yolk, and salt.
3. Whisk the eggs into the flour mixture thoroughly.
4. As soon as the crust is done, remove the pie weights and parchment paper and pour the filling into the hot pan (make sure the pan is hot).
5. Return the pan to the oven, reduce the heat to 300 degrees F, and bake for 25-35 minutes, just until the center of the custard does not jiggle.
6. Remove from the oven and let cool completely on a wire rack. Chill well before cutting, and, if desired, dust the tops with sifted powdered sugar.
Note: I used young ginger because I prefer the brightness and spiciness of it for baking with lemons, but regular ginger works here, too.