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Luscious Lemon Bars ~ Enjoying High Tea in Santa Fe

October 30, 2010

Tea Time at The Garden of Awakening Orchids
Oregon 2003
Dave Siemer

Serving high tea on warm, sultry afternoons never really goes out of style. In Santa Fe, the ultimate tea is served on the veranda of the St. Francis Hotel, weather permitting. Most of the bed and breakfasts I’ve worked in served some sort of afternoon tea with fresh baked treats, sherry or tea. My recipes for lemon bars is one of the most requested in spite of the messy powdered sugar that sifted down on the Victorian oriental carpets.

The St. Francis Hotel isn’t your only option for an enticing mid-afternoon break. Other Santa Fe choices for a truly special high tea include Annapurna’s World Vegetarian Café, The Chocolate Maven and host of other yummy alternative choices.

Lemon Bars
(Be ready to vacuum frequently and listen to compliments.)

Crust
1 ¾ c. flour

2/3 c. confectioners sugar
2 Tbl cornstarch
1 cup butter, preferably unsalted, cut into small bits and chilled

Filling
4 eggs
1 ½ c. granulated sugar
4 tbl flour
2 to 3 tsp minced lemon zest(about 2 lemons)
¾ c. lemon juice(3 large)
½ tsp lemon oil
¼ c. whole milk

Method:

Leave lemons out overnight. Before juicing, press on them and roll around on the counter. This gives you more juice.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease well a 9 x 13 inch pan, preferably with cooking spray. (This gives an even coat to the pan.)

In food processor, mix the flour, confectioners sugar, and cornstarch. Sprinkle the butter bits over and pulse until it resembles coarse meal. You don’t want any large bits of butter.

Sprinkle evenly over pan and press the crust flat, building the edges up about an inch. Don’t worry if the edge isn’t even, you won’t be able to tell after it’s baked. Refrigerate about 30 minutes while you make the filling.

Using a zester, strip the peel from the lemons and chop very fine. Juice the lemons.

Beat the eggs then add the granulated sugar and beat well. Add flour, one tablespoon at a time, then the juice, zest, lemon oil and milk. Beat well and set aside.

Bake the crust for about 20 minutes until very light brown. Remove from the oven, stir the filling once more and pour over the crust. Return to the oven and lower the temperature to 325 degrees. Bake until the filling is set, about 20 minutes more. If the filling gets brown, don’t worry. You’ll cover it with confectioner’s sugar.

After the bars cool, cut into 2 inch square. Sift powdered sugar over.

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