These are great cookies for Christmas dinner parties and sending to short distances like to your neighbours!This is a delicious shortbread base with the ultimate Lemon Curd topping!I guarantee you one thing – One bite of this and your mouth is completely refreshed by the citrusy,lemony taste and the shortbread melts in your mouth!These cookies are worth trying for the season as they are different from the usual Christmas bakes!
A great recipe by Rose Levy Beranbaum!
NOTE – Indian Lemons are smaller and much bitter than Lemons found abroad.So when the original recipe calls for 2 big Lemons and 94ml of juice,in India the quantity is 2 Indian Lemons and approximately 20 – 25 ml juice!
Use the tips of your fingers for mixing the dough for the base.The warmth in them turns out perfect shortbread dough!
Use a 7 inch square pan greased and floured or sprayed with baking spray.
Preparation Time : 2 hours
Makes : 12 bars
FOR THE SHORTBREAD BASE :
142 gms unsalted butter cold (but not hard)
180 gms plain flour/all purpose flour/maida
25 gms granulated sugar
14 gms powdered sugar
Preheat oven to 160°C.
In a large bowl cream butter and sugar with an electric whisk till smooth and fluffy.Add the flour and start mixing with the tips of your fingers.We do not want to make a dough but want everything to come together and incorporate well.
Pack this mixture into the prepared pan spreading and levelling it well and covering the base of the pan.Prick all over with a fork and bake in the oven for 50 minutes to 1 hour till the edges start turning brown and the middle is golden brown.Do not bake more than this.
While the Shortbread is baking,make the Lemon Curd!
FOR THE LEMON CURD :
3 large or 4 small egg yolks
150 gms plus 2 tbsp powdered sugar
20 ml Lemon Juice (Indian Lemons)
57 gms softened unsalted butter
1 pinch salt (if you use salted butter do not add this pinch of extra salt)
2 tsp Lemon zest
Keep a strainer ready over a pan or a saucepan.
In another saucepan add yolks and sugar and beat with a spatula till well blended.Add the juice,butter and salt and cook on the lowest heat possible for 5 – 6 minutes till the mixture thickens and coats the back of a spoon.Keep stirring all the while.The mixture should change from transparent to opaque and look like a custard.
Please do not boil as the eggs will get cooked leaving you with a lemon omelette which you do not want!
Strain the curd through the strainer pressing it with the back of a spoon or a spatula to squeeze out maximum curd.Discard any residue in the strainer.
MAKING THE BARS
Pour the Lemon Curd over the prepared Shortbread base and spread with a spatula covering the top completely.Reduce heat in the oven to 150°C and cook the lemon curd covered Shortbread for 10 – 12 minutes.
Take out and leave to cool by itself in the pan.Refrigerate for 30 -45 minutes and take out.
Run a knife around the edges and gently remove the slab of shortbread.It will come out easily and place it on a cutting board.With a long and sharp knife cut it into four equal strips and cut each strip into a further of 3 bars each.
Dust the bars with powdered/icing sugar and serve with tea!