Saturday, 19 October 2013

Lemon Basil Bars

Today was like being thrown into a pit and having my lungs sucked out of my nose.  There was no light of day, the temperature dropped, constant rain, blueberry prices rose, econometrics miraculously worsened further, and it's just the time of the month.  It was an off day.  I came home in the mid afternoon, and 5 espressos and two vitamin D pills later,  I just curled up on my couch and felt the life slowly drain out of me.

Just when I thought that the last thing I needed was human interaction, then came my Indian sunshine.  My flatmate, Saanya, just miraculously made things better.  The evening ended with making lemon basil bars together with jazz music and the sound of drizzling rain in the background.  The whole living room is still warm from the baking and things just aren't that bad anymore.  Off for a quick escape tomorrow and the day after and all will be well.  All is well. 

So we made these lemon basil bars.  I'm telling you, the basil's the star here, and basil needs to be present in desserts more.  Remember my strawberry basil tarts?

Adapted from Martha Stewart's Lemon Bars recipe
3/4 cup/170g butter, frozen
1 3/4 cup plain flour
3/4 cup icing sugar
3/4 tsp salt

4 large eggs
1 1/3 cup caster sugar
3 tbsp plain flour
 1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup whole milk
small handful torn basil

Preheat oven to 350F/180C.  Grease and line a 9x13 inch baking dish

Make crust: grate butter on a cheese grater with large holes and set aside.  Whisk together flour, icing sugar, and salt in a large bowl.  Add butter, stir with a wooden spoon until combined and the mixture looks crumbly.

Transfer mixture to prepared dish, press evenly onto bottom with your hands.  Freeze crust for 15 minutes.  Bake until slightly golden, 15-18 minutes.  Leave oven on.

Meanwhile, make the filling.

Whisk all the filling ingredients together and pour over the hot crust. 

Reduce oven to 160C/325F and bake until filling is set, about 18 minutes.  Let cool, cut into squares, and garnish with more torn basil. 

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