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Recipe

Chamomile Lemon Bars

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Scott Phillips

Servings: 24

A thick, sturdy-yet-tender cornmeal shortbread crust topped with intensely tangy, chamomile-infused lemon curd makes for a tantalizingly sweet-tart treat.

Ingredients

For the crust

  • 8 oz. (1 cup) unsalted butter, melted; more for the pan
  • 10-1/8 oz. (2-1/4 cups) all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup cornmeal (fine or medium grind)
  • 3 Tbs. finely grated lemon zest (from about 4 lemons)
  • 1 tsp. table salt

For the lemon curd

  • 1 chamomile tea bag
  • 1-3/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 1-1/8 oz. (1/4 cup) all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. table salt
  • 3/4 cup strained fresh lemon juice (from about 5 lemons)
  • 1 Tbs. unsalted butter, melted
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • Confectioners’ sugar
  • Flaky sea salt

Nutritional Information

      Calories (kcal) : 230
      Fat Calories (kcal): 90
      Fat (g): 10
      Saturated Fat (g): 6
      Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 0.5
      Monounsaturated Fat (g): 2.5
      Cholesterol (mg): 60
      Sodium (mg): 230
      Carbohydrates (g): 34
      Fiber (g): 1
      Sugar (g): 22
      Protein (g): 3

Preparation

Make the crust

  • Position a rack in the center of the oven, and heat the oven to 350°F. Butter a 9×13-inch metal baking pan.
  • In a medium bowl, mix the flour, sugar, cornmeal, zest, and salt with a wooden spoon. Add the melted butter, and mix to form a soft dough. Evenly press into the bottom of the pan. Bake until golden on top, 20 to 25 minutes.

Make the lemon curd

  • While the crust is baking, steep the tea bag in 1/3 cup boiling water for 20 to 25 minutes. Whisk together the sugar, flour, and salt in a medium bowl. Whisk in the lemon juice and melted butter. Squeeze all the tea you can from the tea bag. Add the tea to the lemon mixture, along with the eggs and yolks, and whisk until smooth.
  • Pour the lemon curd on top of the crust, and bake until the curd jiggles like jello when the pan is nudged, 10 to 15 minutes.
  • Cool completely on a wire rack. Cut into bars. Just before serving, dust with confectioners’ sugar, and finish with sea salt.

Make Ahead Tips

The bars can be covered and refrigerated for up to 3 days. Let sit at room temperature for 10 to 20 minutes to take off the chill, and dust with the sugar and salt just before serving.

Play with the flavor. Any tea that you might serve with lemon will work in place of the chamomile. You could also spread about 1-1/2 cups of chopped nuts over the crust before you pour the curd on top. I especially like untoasted pine nuts, which don’t need to be chopped.

Tip

The finer the cornmeal, the tenderer the crust. Not all brands of cornmeal are ground the same. Bob’s Red Mill medium grind will yield a coarser, grittier texture (which I happen to like), while a crust made with a finely ground meal like Indian Head will be a little more refined.

Reviews

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Reviews

  • anntaylorslc | 06/08/2016

    I agree that the chamomile lent a mellowing herbal flavor, without diminishing the expected lemony tartness. The cornmeal offers an interesting textural contrast. I forgot to finish with salt, but the bars were eaten up quickly without it. Will try with lemonhoneybush tea next time.

  • anntaylorslc | 06/08/2016

    I agree that the chamomile lent a mellowing herbal flavor, without diminishing the expected lemony tartness. The cornmeal offers an interesting textural contrast. I forgot to finish with salt, but the bars were eaten up quickly without it. Will try with lemonhoneybush tea next time.

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