Hessa Meets Contessa: Meyer Lemon Curd Bars Cockaigne

First the money shot:


Oh, and this:


I put those pictures at the top to attract your eye when you load up the page. You can click them and they will be larger. My name is The Amateur Gourmet and I am a food pornographer.

But wait. How did we get here? What was our journey like from flour, sugar, lemon and sweat to the glory you see above you? Let me tell you: not a pretty one.

It started prettily enough yesterday, when I was out shopping and I spotted these Meyer lemons at Whole Foods:


Meyer Lemons are one (or two) of those gourmet buzzwords that you hear often but never really respond to. By that I mean: I’ve never purchased nor eaten a Meyer lemon. I know Meyer Lemons are all the rage, and so I flipped to the back of my easily portable Mr. Latte book and found Amanda’s recipe for Lemon Curd Bars Cockaigne. I purchased 5 lemons.

Tonight, then, is when the ugliness began. Well not ugliness. Confusion.

You see, Amanda has very easy instructions for the crust. You sift together 1.5 cups of flour and .5 cup of Confectioner’s sugar. Add 12 Tbs of chopped cold butter and pinch with your fingers until it looks like peas. This I did. Then pour into a 13 X 9 inch pan and press to fill the bottom and up the sides. This I attempted. It did not work out:


There was honestly not enough dough to cover the bottom. I know it looks like if I’d spread it around more, but no. Or if it was possible, it didn’t seem possible at the time. I grew furious. I threw things. I broke a cutting board over my head.

But when life throws you Meyer Lemons, call the Barefoot Contessa. That’s what I did. I whipped out her recipe for Lemon Bars and made the crust that she calls for. This one’s easier. It involves your electric mixer. It’s butter and sugar (check) and then flour and salt. Check. Then pour into a 13 X 9 X 2 inch pan. Here’s where I made another mistake:


See the pan in the distance? That’s what I thought was a 13 X 9 X 2 inch pan. But it wasn’t. So it didn’t spread out either.

I finally realized that the pan you see on top of the sink (the one I originally attempted for Amanda) was the one the Contessa called for. So I plopped the dough in there, spread it out, baked at 350 for 25 minutes and removed it from the oven. All was finally well in doughland.

Then the rest was easy. I went back to the Hesser recipe and juiced the Meyer Lemons after zesting them. They have a lovely armoa that’s 3/4ths lemon and 1/4th orange. Whisked that with 6 eggs, sugar and flour and poured it over the crust. Baked for 30 minutes (but then longer because the top hadn’t set) and after it had cooled I had what you see at the top of this post. And if pictures truly speak louder than words, you should know they were delicious. Are delicious. I’m bringing them to school tomorrow. They are the product of a Valentine’s Day union between Hessa and Contessa–two recipes fused into one glorious lemon bar cockaigne. [Please: no cockaigne jokes.]

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