I have a recipe for lemon bars that I really like. I like to think it was I who brought them back into fashion here in san francisco, but more realistically it was Tartine Bakery. They definitely serve more people in one day than I have possibly my whole "baking career". Every now and then I thumb through their cookbook when I'm at Therapy (one of the best stores ever) and never quite bring myself to buy a copy. Maybe it's because I know they are making a killing at their bakery (and newer restaurant) and feel no need to add to their success. But that might be a little harsh.... More likely, a flash of the overstuffed shelf of cookbooks I own enters my mind and I can't seem to find a place for it. I'm glad Angela chose this recipe for January. Even though I tend to think of lemon bars as a summery dessert - I brought them to life in our kitchen on this sunny Sunday (if only we hadn't eaten giant souffles for dinner we may have been able to enjoy them).
I was quite intrigued by this recipe. The shortcrust contains pine nuts - which sounded delicious and weird all at the same time. It also said you could use orange zest of a particular variety if available which was also interesting. Lemon bars with pine nuts and orange zest. I did not go searching for this specific orange but did opt to try the pine nuts. I wanted to do the crust a little different though and rather than leaving the nuts whole, I processed them until they resembled fine crumbs and mixed them in to the dough. I also wanted to make them into little tarts so I could experiment with different toppings. My lemon bars were more like mini lemon pies serving 4-6 people. Can't forget to thank the landlord for having my oven fixed on Friday! I actually thought I might miss the January recipe because of it.
Do I like these more than my own recipe? I can tell you they are different enough to make an easy choose. I like my very simple crunchy crust with just enough lemon to satisfy a craving - but these are a good change. Thick crust and a almost double the amount of filling I would normally use - they were nice with the hint of nuts. The filling was also a little bit creamier than the normal. Very tart with a nice nutty depth of flavor. I might try serving one with chopped toasted pine nuts.