I got a lot of questions from readers about last month’s Specialty of the House recipe: Madhatter’s Bakeshop and Cafe’s Lemon Bars.
All the questions were the same: would a recipe with 12 eggs, 7 cups sugar and more really fit in a 9-by-13-inch baking dish? The answer is yes. I tested the recipe and it did work but it did not produce what we know as lemon bars, thin crust topped with a thin lemon layer. It was much thicker, closer to the thickness of lemon pie.
In retrospect, I suspect the chef sent me a recipe that was for two jelly roll pans, not one, and so I should have cut it in fourths.
I spent Sunday testing the recipe and believe I finally got it right. Below is the better version.
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Madhatter’s Lemon Bars
2 1/4 cups flour, divided
3 1/2 cups sugar, divided
16 tablespoons butter (2 sticks)
1/2 cup lemon juice, from about 3 lemons
Zest from all lemons used for juice
Powdered sugar, optional
HEAT oven to 350 degrees.
PULSE 2 cups flour and 1/2 cup sugar in food processor. Add butter and blend, 8 to 10 seconds, and then pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal. (Recipe tester: This can also be done in a large bowl with a biscuit cutter and your fingers until it resembles coarse meal.) Sprinkle mixture into a 9-by-13-inch baking pan. Press firmly into an even layer with slightly raised sides to hold in the filling. Bake until edges are golden brown, about 15 mins.
WHISK together eggs, 3 cups sugar and 1/4 cup flour; stir in lemon juice and zest, blend well. Pour mixture onto top of the baked warm crust. Bake for about 20 minutes, or until the filling feels firm when touched lightly. (You may need to cover with foil to prevent filling from browning too much.)
CHILL for at least one hour before serving.
Yield: 20 servings.