These lemon-date bars layer shortbread, savory-sweetness, and lemon custard for an extraordinary dessert. There are a lot of steps, so read through them all before jumping in! This isn't a quick fix recipe. Modified from Martha Stewart Living, February 2015.
Course: Breakfast, Dessert, Snack
Keyword: bars, lemon
Author: Beth Cato
8ouncesmedjool datespitted and choppd
3/4cupunsalted butter1 1/2 sticks, cut into pieces
1 3/4cupsall-purpose flour
3/4cupconfectioners' sugarplus more for dusting
1 1/4cupswhite sugar
4 - 5lemonszested and juiced
In a heatproof bowl, soak dates in boiling water for 15 minutes. Drain, reserving liquid. Purée dates in a food processor with enough of soaking liquid (about 1/2 cup) to make a spreadable paste; this can also be done with an immersion blender, but be cautious in case it spits. (You should have about 1 1/4 cups of date paste.) Let mixture completely cool in fridge.
Preheat oven to 350-degrees. Line a 9-by-13-inch baking dish with aluminum foil or parchment paper, leaving an overhang on the long sides, and use nonstick spray or butter to coat the interior.
In a bowl, whisk together flour, confectioners' sugar, and salt. Work in butter with your fingertips or a fork until it's combined and mixture holds together when pinched. Press crust evenly into bottom of prepared pan. Freeze 15 minutes so it will set. Bake the crust until light golden brown, 20 to 25 minutes.
While the crust is baking, whisk together the granulated sugar, flour, and salt. Whisk in eggs one at a time, followed by the lemon zest and juice.
Spread the cooled date paste evenly over baked crust; an uneven spatula is handy for this.
Bake at 350-degrees for 4 minutes. Reduce heat to 325-degrees and pour lemon filling over date layer. Bake about 10 minutes and rotate pan in oven, then cook for another 10 minutes. The top will be evenly set when it is done.
Let cool on a wire rack. Store in fridge. Lift out the bars by the foil or parchment to cut them. Right before serving, sprinkle confectioners' sugar all over top (it'll absorb in a short time, but you can always add more).