If you enjoy your lemon treats super tart and with a full-on lemon flavor, then Tartine’s Lemon Bars are for you! Make this and fall in love!
So I decided to make something that reminded me of one of my favorite bakeries ever, just because I’ve been missing it so much. After visiting Tartine Bakery for the first time last year, I fell in love. The US is very far from my home country so it’s not really practical for me to fly there that often, so I decided to do the next best thing: BUY TARTINE BAKERY’S COOKBOOK. Clever of me, I know. 🙃
The first recipe I decided to make is something I have been wanting to eat for a while now, but thanks to my pickiness I haven’t been able to indulge. Somehow I knew that if I went Tartine–style on it, it would be absolutely perfect. And Tartine’s Lemon Bars were EVERYTHING I wanted them to be.
It’s hard to find lemon bars that fit into my specifications, but now I realize the best route is to test recipes on my own and find gems I want to keep. Tartine’s Lemon Bars are definitely keepers in my book. They are in no way subdued, and they’re not the sort that just carries a lemon essence. They are the real deal. They are the sort that makes you pucker up. They announce their presence with a bang to wake up your tastebuds.
In short, these are totally my kind of lemon treat!
My first introduction to Tartine’s lemon pastries was by way of their heavenly Lemon Cream Pie. (Next thing to make on my list!) After that experience, I had the feeling Tartine Bakery knew exactly how I liked my lemon desserts– tart with a bright lemon punch, and with just enough sweetness so as not to make you lose sight of the sour.
If you’re like me and you always feel disappointed when something labeled ‘lemon’ has only a whiff of the flavor, then Tartine’s lemon bars are for you. They are not for the faint-hearted lemon-lover, so I guess the lemony-ness of this treat has disadvantages too for those who prefer something lighter.
Nonetheless, I really love how this comes together so easily. When you pour the lemon filling over the top of the buttery crust while it’s hot, they fuse together seamlessly and almost look like a one layer bar. Taste-wise, the lemon part is obviously more dominant, but the crust helps add this sort of rich buttery undertone to the treat.
But let’s face it… I’m here for the lemon. And I hope you are too.
Tartine Bakery's Lemon Bars
Makes one 6x6-inch pan
For the crust
- ¼ cup confectioner’s sugar
- ½ + ¼ cups all-purpose flour
- 6 Tablespoons 3/4 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
For the filling
- ¼ cup all-purpose flour
- 1 1/8 cups sugar
- ½ cup + 1 tablespoon lemon juice, from about 3 to 4 lemons
- lemon zest, grated from 1/2 lemon
- 3 large whole eggs
- Pinch of salt
- Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting
Make the crust
- 1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Butter a 6x6-inch baking pan.
- 2. In a medium bowl, sift together confectioner’s sugar and flour. Using your hands, work the butter into the dry mixture until a smooth dough forms.
- 3. Transfer the dough into the prepared pan and press evenly onto the bottom. You should get about a 1/4-inch thick crust. You can even out the crust using the flat bottom of any type of cup if you wish.
- 4. Line the crust with parchment paper and add pie weights on top. Bake until the crust turns an even deep golden brown, about 25 to 30 minutes. Check the crust during the 20-minute mark. If it doesn't seem to be browning, remove the pie weights during the last 5 to 10 minutes of baking.
While the crust is baking, make the filling
- 5. In a large mixing bowl, sift in the flour. Add the sugar and whisk until blended. Add the lemon juice and zest, then stir until the sugar is dissolved.
- 6. In a separate smaller mixing bowl, whisk the eggs with the salt. Add the eggs to the lemon juice mixture and whisk until well combined.
- 7. Once the crust is ready, pull out the oven rack the pan is on. Remove the pie weights first if you haven't yet, then pour the filling directly onto the hot crust. (This way your filling and crust won't separate from each other.)
- 8. Reduce the oven temperature to 300°F (150°C) and bake just until the center of the custard is no longer wobbly, 30 to 40 minutes. Start checking during the 30 minute mark! Let cool completely on a wire rock, then cover and chill in the fridge before cutting.
- 9. Once cold, use a sharp knife to cut into squares in your desired size and number. You can also dust the tops with confectioner’s sugar before baking. Lemon tarts will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.