Monday, July 13, 2015

Luscious Lemon Slice or Bar (Belinda Jeffery)

My son has a soft spot for anything with lemons.

After I made those easy and amazing lemon bars, I kept getting reminders and requests to bake something with lemons.

Even before baking these luscious lemon slices, I knew that my son will like them and he really does...

luscious lemon slice bar Belinda Jeffery
Luscious Lemon Slice / Bar

Remember that I have done lots of Google searches with the words, "lemon bars" and "lemon slices" at my previous lemon bar post? I found so many recipes like this, this, this, this, this, this, this and more... Too many!!! Seriously, I don't know which recipe is best!!!

Among all the lemon bars and slices recipes that I have came across, I'm hopelessly attracted to this lemon slice recipe from the book, Mix and Bake by Belinda Jeffery. Seriously, I don't know why. All because Belinda said that her slices as luscious!!!??? There is no even a picture in the book showing the lusciousness of these slices. It happened because I actually fell for its name!!!

Am I gullible? May be a little but I have to say that I'm really convinced by Belinda and adore the way she wrote about these treats.

Once again... I wouldn't vouch that these lemon bars or slices are the best
... but I do know that they are as luscious as they should be.

This is how I made these luscious treats...

To start, I made the base.
Then, I baked it.
Allow the base to cool slightly after baking.
While the base is baking, I whisk the eggs and sugar until combined.
Next, I whisked in the lemon zest and juice into the egg mixture.
... plus the sifted flour.
And I baked the slice again.
I was like "wow" when I cut this bake ...
It looked really pale and ugly before slicing...
... but beneath is this golden, tangy and smooth lemony layer!!!
Yeah!!! Lusciously good!

Personally, I feel that the amount of sugar used in this recipe is horrendously heaps!!! However, this amount is required because it needs to neutralise the sourness of the lemon juice used. For a better balance, I have reduced the amount of added sugar slightly from 220g to 150g for 1/3 of the recipe. I think that these slices are just right for me and I wouldn't suggest reducing the amount of sugar further or served them with any extra icing sugar! 

Here's the recipe from the book, Mix and Bake by Belinda Jeffery with my slight modification and notes in blue.

Makes 20-24 medium sized bars
I have baked one third of this recipe and baked only 8 bars.

For the base:
1 1/2 cups (225 g) plain flour (I used 75g)
1/2 cup (80 g) icing sugar, sifted (I used 25g)
finely grated zest of 1/2 lemon (I used zest of 1 small lemon)
180 g cold unsalted butter, cut into small chunks (I used 60g)
1/2 tsp vanilla extract (I used 1/4 tsp vanilla paste)
2 tsp iced water (I used 1 tsp)

For the lemon topping:
6 eggs (I used 2)
3 cups (660 g) castor sugar (I used a reduced amount of 150g)
finely grated zest of 3 lemons (I used zest of 1 lemon)
1 cup (250 ml) lemon juice, strained (I used 1/3 cup, 80ml)
1/2 cup (75 g) plain flour (I used 25g)

icing sugar, chopped pistachio nuts or fresh berries (raspberries and/or blueberries are lovely) and cream (optional), to serve

Preheat your oven to 180°C. Lightly butter a 32 x 24 x 5 cm baking tin (mine is 10 x 20 cm) and set it aside.

For the base, put the flour, icing sugar and lemon zest into a food processor and whiz them together. Add the butter and process it until the mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs. With the processor going, add the vanilla extract and iced water and whiz the mixture until it forms a ball around the blade. Take it out and press the dough evenly into the prepared tin. Gently roll a tumbler across the top of the dough to smooth it out. Bake the base for about 18 mins or until the edges are starting to colour and the top is pale golden. Instead of using a processor, I have used my fingertips to rub the butter into the flour mixture and combine the rest of the ingredients into a dough by hand. I did all with very minimal handling.

While the base is cooking, make the lemon topping. In a large bowl, beat the eggs and sugar with a balloon whisk until they are well combined; you don't have to beat this like crazy, just make sure it's thoroughly mixed. Whisk in the lemon zest and juice. Sift the flour over the top and whisk it in until the mixture is smooth. Set it aside.

When the base is ready, transfer it to a wire rack to cool. Reduce the oven temperature to 150°C. Once the base has cooled for 5 mins, whisk the filling briefly again, as it will have settled a bit, then pour it over the base. Return the tin to the oven and bake for another 35-40 mins or until the topping is set.  Leave the slice to cool in the tin on a wire rack.

Note: I baked mine for 30 mins and I have reduced the temperature to 140°C at the last 10 mins as large bubbles start to form inside the topping layer. To avoid over-powering heat, I prefer not to use fan forced oven to bake these.

Once the slice is completely cool, use a sharp knife to cut it.

Just before serving the slice, dust the tops with a little icing sugar and sprinkle them with a few chopped pistachio nuts. If you're making this into a dessert, put one slice on each plate and pile berries up on top so some tumble onto the plate. Dust the berries with a little icing sugar, then serve with a dollop of cream on the side.

Note: I'm serving these slices on their own. As they are sweet enough, I prefer not eat them with any extra icing sugar! 

If you're not using the slices straight away, cover the tin tightly with plastic film and keep it in the fridge for 3-4 days. You'll find the bottom will become a bit soggy as time passes but it still tastes wonderful.

Enjoy the treats.
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  1. I love lemon anything! Been a bit lazy to make shortcrust pastry, but these look to delicious to pass, and I love Belinda Jeffery's recipes too :)

  2. Ahh! Lemon bars again! The shortcrust must be good! :)

  3. As a child, I remember that I used to dislike lemons a lot cos it's so sour. My boy is also like your son, he likes lemon anything, kids nowadays have a better tolerance to sour things haha!

  4. Hi Zoe, i love how yellowish yr lemon slice looks! Actually i think the top crisp layer is very interesting. Pairing wt the golden yellowish lemon beneath it is just haven!

  5. I see the word lemon only, there's saliva running at the sides of my cheeks already, haha.. I don't think it looks pale, it looks wonderful, and when you slice it open, wow, that bright yellow lemon custard, yummzzz..

  6. All lemon bars are heavenly, Agree? love, love anything lemons.

  7. Oh dear this look sooo damn good! I'm definitely going to give your recent no bake lemon bars a shot in the near future! I'm a huge fan of lemon products and love my lemon items still tarte and super tangy instead of it being a fragrance and too sweet. I personally have no idea on how to modify baking recipes so I tend to stick to them as close as I can but I totally appreciate a recipe that's been adjusted by someone more experienced.

  8. More bright sunny lemon treats!

  9. Zoe, I am really drooling for the lemon bars!

  10. I LOVE lemon bars.
    I don't make lemon bars, because I LOVE them.
    As soon as I'm back to my bikini weight, this is the first thing I'm baking and EATing! xo

  11. Love these golden sunshine lemon bars ....

  12. Oh just wanted to let you know on the most recent post you comment on! The chinese looking food was at Chinatown as I wrote, I went to two different places that day, it's definitely not vietnamese!

  13. I love lemon bars and love all with lemon
    (I made some lemon ice pops and almost I ate all!!!)
    These look stunning Zoe:)))

  14. Omigosh, these are beautiful, Zoe! You have me salivating ! ^.^

  15. Wow, Zoe! Another lemony yummy bar! I love that golden lemony filling in between the pale top and crust. I can only imagine how good that is. Must try this recipe!

  16. The gold lemon layer is just too beautiful! I love all things lemony and how I wish I can have one slice right now!

  17. I have never made lemon bar before....but I love citrusy dessert/snack! This looks awesome! I must make this probably after the Perfect Chocolate Cake I planning on making.

  18. Hi Zoe,
    Definitely luscious looking! I have seen this recipe from that book and has bookmarked it to make ages ago, but have not done so! Wish I could grab a few slices from you tray! Yum!

  19. haha..yeah....those lemon bars that i made didnt look attarctive too before cutting..and i must say that these that you've made look very luscious indeed!

  20. I just made this!! Thanks for the recipe. I also reduced the sugar like you did because my husband doesn't like it too sweet. Hopefully he will like them! I also didn't have such a big tin so I used a 21.5 x 21.5 tin...the base does look a little bit thick. However, if he really likes it, then I will definitely have to invest in a big tin because I will be making this easy recipe again and again.