By Angela Denstad Stigeler
There’s something so fresh and clean about lemons. I love to have them on hand at all times, but I especially appreciate them in the spring, when one longs for flavors fresh and light, to cleanse a stew-soaked palate and cut through the richness of roasts and other winter comfort foods on which we’ve been subsisting. This week, for instance, the vernal equinox arrives, but the first shoots of spring are nowhere in sight. Even when flowers and tender greens sprout, those spring fruits are weeks away.
And so, the lemon. It’s now time to reconsider its particular appeal, beyond that of a garnish aside fried fish or a quick squeeze on a salad. Now is a perfect time to feature this tart fruit, to butter it up, give it a little sweetness. Some simple lemon bars will do the trick and look pretty on a platter, served up simply with a cup of tea, or as a sunny little treat on an Easter table. When you try them, you’ll see new reasons to love lemons in the springtime, or any time at all.
Simple Lemon Bars
½ cup butter
¼ cup sugar
1 cup flour
2 large eggs
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons flour
2 tablespoons lemon juice
confectioner’s sugar, for dusting
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Cream together the butter, sugar and flour for the crust until well combined. Pat the mixture firmly into an 8-inch square pan. Bake until well set and the center looks dry, 15-20 minutes.
Meanwhile, beat the eggs in a medium bowl. Add the sugar, flour and lemon juice, beating until well-combined. Have the filling mix ready as the crust finishes. Pour the filling directly on to the hot crust and continue baking another 20 minutes. Dust with confectioner’s sugar and allow to cool in the pan. Cut into squares to serve.