So it is November 20th and I have broken one of the rules I live by….absolutely NO Christmas stuff until December 1st.
Not only have I managed to get all of my Christmas shopping done (by some sort of miracle!), Jeff (the husband :)) has put up the Christmas lights and I have officially started my trial runs for Christmas baking!
Every year my mom holds a big gathering for Christmas Eve and with this gathering I am tasked to bake for 30+ people who all seem to like different things, which I sometimes think is them playing a practical joke on me just to see how many things I will bake! My mom will be coming over December 15th for a baking day – aka – mom comes over uses me for my Leroy (since I refuse to let him leave the house and be borrowed…yes I am aware that this is a mixer), makes a HUGE mess with melted chocolate and ends up then cleaning my kitchen out of pity for me, however, I look forward to this time spent with mom every year!
Since I am a bit of a perfectionist and tend to get slightly upset if things do not go my way in the kitchen, I decided that I would do some practice runs of what we are going to bake for Christmas and look like a pro when my mom and I are actually baking for the Christmas Eve extravaganza!
My mom has suggested that we bake something with lemon and something with cranberry which is subject to change of course, based on my practice runs. Tonight I have decided to tackle the lemon portion of her request.
This recipe is a Martha Stewart recipe, the original can be found here, with a few slight changes. I do not enjoy lemon zest in my dessert so I removed that from the recipe and added another 1/8 cup of lemon juice. I have also added the cream of tartar to the recipe for the meringue because I find that this gives the meringue that nice shiny gloss 🙂
1 cup butter
1 3/4 cups, plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/4 cup, plus 3 tablespoons confectioners sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 whole eggs, plus 4 egg whites
2 1/4 cups, plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 cup fresh lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees
2) Put butter, flour, confectioners sugar and salt in bowl of electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on medium speed until well blended.
– Just a friendly reminder to sift the dry ingredients, confectioners sugar has tones of little clumps!
3) Transfer mixture to a 9×13 baking sheet. Press batter evenly into baking sheet and chill in freezer for 10 minutes.
– I really didn’t think there would be enough batter to spread across the baking sheet, but I guess Martha really does know what she is doing 🙂
4) Bake until golden, 20-22 minutes. Let cool completely on a wire rack.
– Not going to lie, I missed this step so I had to adjust all my baking times, NOT a recommendation I would make!
5) Whisk together whole eggs, 1 3/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar and lemon juice.
6) Pour over crust. Bake until filling is set, 18-20 minutes. Let cool on wire rack.
7) Put egg whites, 1/2 cup granulated sugar and cream of tartar in the clean bowl of the mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat on medium-high until stiff peaks form.
8) Using an offset spatula or the back of a spoon, spread meringue over filling, swirling to create soft peaks. Bake until meringue begins to brown, 8-10 minutes.
9) Let cool completely. Cut into bars.
Now I am fully aware that meringue does not hold up for much longer than 3 days in the fridge, let alone 2 weeks in a freezer, so I do have a plan to make this recipe work based on the 2 weeks I have between baking and Christmas Eve.
What I’m going to do to make this work is bake the crust and the filling, cut into squares and then freeze. The day before or day of serving, bring the bars up to room temperature, make the meringue, pipe onto squares and bake for the remaining 8-10 minutes at 350 degrees.
Here is the final product:
Hope you enjoy!