Are you looking for a fresh new recipe to take to the many holiday functions you have scheduled?
For a couple of years now, at this time of year, I’ve been offering an Entertaining Ideas Kitchen Show. These shows have always been very popular and have been a great way for me to ‘beef up’ my fall calendar. At all my shows from August on, I say, “How many of you entertain over the holidays? (Almost everyone raises their hand.) Now how many of you entertain the same people year after year? If you’re ready for some fresh, quick and easy entertaining ideas, let’s do an Entertaining Ideas Kitchen Show!”
One of the Christmas gifts I received this year from the kids was a Tartine cookbook. This is a lovely neighborhood bakery and cafe located in San Francisco, California. This cookbook provides recipes for irresitable croissants, which remind me of working for Cafe De Croissants in my early days in the food industry. The aromas of fresh made croissants and specialty coffee was a pleasurable experience for me starting my career in the food industry. The cookbook also includes fruit tarts, and tender cakes all with easy-to-follow recipes anyone can bake in their own kitchen.
The authors are right about the hardest part of the cookbook on deciding which recipe to try first. They all look amazing. After browsing through the cookbook a few times, I decided on trying the Lemon Bars On Brown Butter Shortbread. They taste delicious and just melt in your mouth.
I have very few pastry cookbooks and I’m glad to add this one to my library. This is a very simple and quick recipe to entertain your guests in the fall and winter. Enjoy!
Lemon Bars On Brown Butter Shortbread
1/2 cup Confectioners’ Sugar
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup Pine nuts (optional)
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2/14 cups sugar
1 cup plus 2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Lemon zest, grated from 1 small lemon
6 Large whole eggs
1 Large egg yolk
Pinch of salt
Confectioners’ sugar for topping (optional)
Kitchen Notes: Whisking eggs with salt helps denature (relax) the protein in the eggs and breaks them up more quickly and thouroughly. You can also do this for egg wash, adding a small pinch of salt for each egg you use.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9×13 inch baking pan or I simply used baking spray. To make the crust, sift the confectioners’ sugar into a mixing bowl. Add flour and stir to mix. Add the butter and pine nuts and beaty on low speed until a smooth dough forms.
Transfer the dough to the prepared pan and press evenly into the bottom using the flat bottom of any type of cup or glass. Bake the crust until it colors evenly to a deep golden brown, approximately 25-35 minutes. You can rotate the pan 180 degrees if the crust appears to be baking unevenly.
As the crust is baking, prepare the filling. Sift flour into a mixing bowl. Add the sugar and whisk until blended. Add the lemon juice and zest and stir to dissolve the sugar. In a separate mixing bowl, whish the eggs and egg yolk with the salt. Add the eggs to the lemon mixture and whisk until well mixed.
When the crust is ready, pull out the oven rack holding the crust and pour the filling directly into the hot pan. (It is easiest to pour the custard into the pan if the pan is in the oven.) Reduce the temperature to 300 degrees and bake until the center of the custard is no longer wobbly, 30 to 40 minutes.
Let cool completely on wire rack, then cover and chill well before cutting. Using a sharp knife or mini-serving spatula, cut into squares. Dust with cofectioners’ sugar. They will keep in an airtight container or well covered in the baking dish in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.