Monday, July 5, 2010

Red-White-and-Blue Lemon Berry Bars

When I saw these a while ago on another blog, I knew they would be the perfect addition to my fourth of July menu. I had already chosen a chocolate dessert, and needed something fruity and colorful to go with the holiday.

I don't just like all things lemon, I LOVE them; especially when it comes to desserts. One of my most favorite lemon desserts that I grew up eating is this Lemonade Cake that is simply light and delicious. I was also introduced to this Sour Lemon Pie by my friend several years ago on Thanksgiving and now no Thanksgiving is complete without it! One of my husband's most favorite desserts is classic lemon bars, which, I have to say, I have never made for him. Oh, and if you're into lemon too, you'll love this Lemon Linguini. It's a perfect summer meal.

Now, onto these bars. They're delicious. The graham cracker crust is crunchy and sweet and I love how the lemon is infused into it as well as the creamy filling. You could really use just about any berry or combination of berries in this filling; I think most berries pair pretty well with lemon. I chose red raspberries and blueberries to complete the red-white-and-blue theme.

For the crust:
3 cups graham cracker crumbs
12 Tbsp. (1 1/2 sticks) salted butter, melted
1/2 cup sugar
Zest of two lemons

For the filling:
4 large egg yolks
2-14 oz. cans sweetened condensed milk
1 cup fresh lemon juice (about 4 lemons)
2 tsp. lemon zest
3/4 cup fresh raspberries
3/4 cup fresh blueberries

Preheat the oven to 350F. Spray a 13x9-inch baking dish with cooking spray. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, combine the graham cracker crumbs, melted butter, sugar, and lemon zest. Stir until graham cracker crumbs are moist. Press crumbs into the prepared pan, pressing the crust mixture one inch up the side of the pan. Bake for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool slightly.

For the filling, combine the egg yolks and condensed milk until well mixed. Stir in the lemon juice and lemon zest. Stir until mixture begins to slightly thicken. Gently fold in the blueberries first then the raspberries. Fold carefully so you don’t break the raspberries (or your filling will turn pink).

Pour the filling evenly over the graham cracker crust. Bake for 15 minutes.

Cool to room temperature, then chill for at least one hour before serving. Cut into bars and serve. Keep bars in the refrigerator-up to five days.

-You can also use frozen berries. I used frozen raspberries from my garden, but they bled a little bit as they thawed and cooked.

-This makes a lot of bars. You can half the recipe and make it in an 8x8 dish.

SOURCE:Adapted from Two Peas and Their Pod

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