Martha Stewart. To many people in the UK, this name probably won’t mean anything to them – unless they have a relative with that name of course. But in America, Martha is a media mogul – she started out catering for parties and now has her own empire. She cooks, crafts, presents TV shows, has a whole range of magazines and likes porridge ;)
I was given a Martha Stewart Cookies 2012 Calendar last Christmas (don’t laugh, I loved it!), which had loads of recipes on it. And the food photography on each page is amazing. For May, the picture was of Martha’s Lemon Bars. They looked so delicious I had to make them. They have a cookie type base covered with a lemon curd type topping, dusted with icing sugar.
But I must confess, I didn’t make Martha’s recipe – hers was a bit more involved, grating frozen butter etc. and I really didn’t have the time. So I found another recipe (very simple!) elsewhere and tweaked it to my own taste. Pucker up…
225g very soft unsalted butter
100g granulated sugar
250g plain flour
4 large eggs, beaten
300g granulated sugar
30g plain flour
Juice of 3 lemons
Preheat your oven to 180oC.
For the base in a mixer, I combined the butter and sugar until light and creamy. I then added the flour and beat this until the flour was just combined and a crumbly dough had formed. I placed this is a glass dish – I used my ‘lasagne’ dish. No need to grease or baking paper – it will come out no bother. I patted the dough down into one level and placed this in the oven for 25 minutes. It should turn golden brown around the edges and be firm to touch. Remove from oven, but leave it turned on.
For the topping in another bowl, I beat together the lemon juice, eggs, flour and sugar until combined and a bit lighter in colour. Pour this on top of the base and place back in the oven for another 25 minutes. If the top looks as though it is turning brown during baking, tent some foil over the top.
Remove this from the oven and let it set for at least an hour. The lemon ‘curd’ gets firmer as it cools. Taking a knife, carefully run around the edges to loosen and cut into squares. Dust each square with icing sugar.
The squares are buttery and biscuity on the bottom and with the soft curd on top, which has that sharp lemon tang to balance it out – these are amazing. Enjoy!!