CRANBERRY LEMON BARS
This makes for a centerpiece holiday dessert. The colors glisten!
Makes about 16 pieces.
• 2 1/2 cups fresh or frozen cranberries
• 1/2 cup water
• 1/2 cup granulated sugar
• 1 1/2 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour
• 1/4 cup + 2 tbsp. confectioners' sugar, sifted
• 3/4 cup unsalted butter, cut into cubes then softened to room temperature
• 2 large eggs
• 3/4 cup + 2 tbsp. granulated sugar
• 1/2 tsp. baking powder
• Pinch salt
• 2 tbsp. grated lemon zest
• 2 1/2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
Heat oven to 350 degrees.
For the Cranberry Puree:
In a small saucepan, combine the cranberries and the water. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Stir and cook until the berries burst and the mixture reduces to about 3/4 cup (this takes at least 10 minutes).
Remove saucepan from heat and stir in the sugar until sugar dissolves. Strain through a sieve into a medium bowl, pressing to extract as much fruit mixture as possible.
For the Crust:
Mix the flour and confectioners' sugar in a medium bowl. Using a pastry blender or two forks, cut in the butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Press the crust evenly into an ungreased 11x8" tart pan with removable bottom. Build a 1/2" edge up the sides of the pan. Bake for 18 minutes, then carefully remove the tart pan to a wire rack.
For the Lemon Filling:
With an electric mixer, beat the eggs and sugar until they are light lemon in color. Add the baking powder, salt, zest, and juice and beat until the mixture is very light and frothy, about 4 minutes. Pour filling evenly over the partially baked crust.
Return the pan to the oven and bake until the top is set and golden, 15 to 20 minutes. Cool completely on a wire rack.
When ready to spread Cranberry Puree atop cooled lemon bar mixture, lightly whip the Puree in a small bowl with a fork. (This makes mixture easier to spread.) Gently spread atop lemon filling in pan. Refrigerate for 30 minutes, then cut into bars and enjoy.
• Cranberry puree may be made 1 day ahead, then covered and refrigerated until ready to use. Bring to room temperature before using.
• You'll miss them when they're gone, so freeze some fresh cranberries directly in their bags for six to eight months and use as desired.