lemon and raspberry: happy after-holidays!
I probably should have posted this before Christmas, but I didn’t, opting for the nutty-not-nut flavored sunflower seed butter-chocolate cups instead. Not everyone likes chocolate, ergo onto the fruit. Some may think these raspberry-lemonade bars more a summery dessert. Think of it as a freezer creation: store those fresh raspberries from the summer (or just buy the frozen) and find the citrus springing up in winter months. These look very Christmasy but taste like summer. Fruit from another time, like the nostalgia of my once-before. A hazy repeat without a defined deja vu. A new place.
Besides my strings of deja vu of living in Atlanta tugging at bits of the before, there are remembrances of the holidays as a child. This time, it is tempered with my own children in the now. Really, right now, the din of my kids and cousins increases as bedtime approaches. There are a couple of the cousins who are collapsing into heaps of tired tears, overstimulated from toys that buzz, chirp, flash, develop fine motor skills, and perhaps educate, along with the insulin-revved snacks.
Our menu this year, mostly created by my mother, is outstanding. For desserts, we’ve sampled rugelach, Mexican wedding cookies, salted Nutella oatmeal cookies, and a sparkling, perfectly set cranberry-pear pate de fruit.* I think these raspberry-lemonade bars would be a perfect addition in this group.
And as I write, I am constantly distracted by the noise. (You know how long it took me to write that last sentence?) Not only is it the gaggles of happy squeals and tired tears, but the emotion focused on me. Sky-Girl has a writing-radar: whenever I sit down, she hones in on my want for a focus, to find some semblance of words, to form ideas, to communicate, and lambastes my brain to uhhhhh huh wait what? o e r kj s axc a lkajka as
That’s it, people. I’ve indulged enough in the sweets and my writing. Crying usurps them.
Happy New Year!
* I’m preparing a lengthy post on my trials and tribulations in pate de fruit making. My mom and I have had just as lengthy discussions about it. I’m kinda sorta obsessed. Enough failures with one method usually steels me more to succeed. (My apricot-Earl Grey pate de fruit was a success a couple of years ago, but a new technique is my goal this year.) In this case, I had to fail more than once, step back, reassess, and try again. There will be success!
Two years ago: oatmeal crackers
Three years ago: status interruptus
Recipe barely adapted from the lovely Improv Kitchen.
- FOR THE CRUST: 9 tablespoons unsalted butter
- ¼ cup sugar
- 1 cup flour
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- pinch of salt
- FOR THE FILLING: 12 ounces frozen raspberries, thawed, and/or fresh raspberries
- ¾ cup sugar
- ⅔ cup fresh lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons lemon zest
- 3 egg whites
- 1 egg
- ⅔ cup flour, sifted *
- pinch of salt
- powdered sugar for dusting, optional
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Line an 8x8-inch baking pan with parchment paper (no need to butter). Make sure your edges overhang enough that you can use them to remove the baked, cooled uncut bar from the pan to cut more easily.
- MAKE THE CRUST: Cream the butter and sugar together with an electric mixer, then add vanilla. Add flour and mix until just incorporated. Dump dough into prepared pan and press until evenly covering bottom of the dish. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes until slightly golden brown.
- MAKE THE FILLING: Put the berries in a fine mesh sieve and press to recover solids and extract juice into a large bowl. If you don't mind seeds, you can add them in whole.**
- Add sugar, egg whites, egg, lemon juice, zest, flour, and salt to the bowl and stir to combine. Pour the mixture into the crust and bake for 25 to 30 minutes. First check your raspberry lemonade bars at 25 minutes and then again in about three more minutes until you see that the center has set. You are looking for a matte finish across the top, without over baking the edges. Overbake and you'll end up with rubbery edges. (Which are easily trimmed and eaten....no one has to know.)
- Allow to cool to room temperature and then place in the refrigerator for a few hours to cool completely. I couldn't wait that long, cutting into them after about two hours in the fridge. I was not disappointed.
- I imagine these would do well with just about any berry as a substitute. Other variations I've dreamed about are black tea and lemon, guava and lime.