All you Americans out there, especially all those who live in San Francisco, have you been to Tartine?
I have been to SF. And the most heartbreaking thing for me is that (as it was pre my “all I want to do is bake” days) I didn’t go to Tartine.
I went to some fantastic places like Nopa and Dottie Blue’s, but I was yet to hear about Tartine at that point. It just means I am going to have to go back to SF and visit, because I have heard amazing things about the bakery!
I first heard about Tartine maybe a year and a half ago, when I read about their morning buns and gave the recipe a try. They were fantastic (I will have to re-make them and post about them soon!) and I immediately ran out and bought the Tartine book.
I was so excited when it came that I marked all the things I wanted to make from it and baked a couple of things straight away and then sort of… forgot about it. Does anyone else do that too? I get so distracted by all the recipes I want to try from other blogs and magazines that I neglect the beautiful baking books I have lined up on my bookshelf.
Anyway, we have a a bread class at culinary school, and our chef loves his sourdough and did a course in SF. I asked him if he went to Tartine and we talked about it. He loved it and told me that if I have their book, I have to try the recipe for lemon bars on brown butter shortbread.
And he was right, they were fantastic. I loved them. The girlfriends who they were gifted to loved them. My mum, who hates lemon and hates lemon bars, loved them. It went like this:
Mum: “What are those things in the kitchen?”
Me: “Lemon bars.”
Mum: “Am I allowed to try them?”
Me: “Of course.”
Mum: “Good. Because I already ate three.”
The brown butter shortbread uses a strange pastry-making method but the results are great. The shortbread is golden brown and crisp and flaky and stays that way for days. The filling is thick and sticky, almost creamy too, and has a lovely balance between being tart and sweet.
If you’re a lemon bar lover (and even if you’re not!) you should totally try these.
And if you’ve been to (or frequent) Tartine, please tell me about your experience! I’d love to know your thoughts.
For the brown butter shortbread crust
1/2 cup icing sugar (55g, 2 oz)
1 1/2 cups plain flour (215g, 7 1/2 oz)
3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened (170g, 6 oz)
pinch of salt
For the lemon filling
1/2 cup plain flour (70g, 2 1/2 oz)
2 1/4 cups sugar (455g, 1 pound)
1 cup lemon juice (250ml, 8 oz, about 8-10 lemons)
zest from 1 lemon, grated
1 egg yolk
pinch of salt
icing sugar, for dusting
Preheat the oven to 180 C (350 F) and line a 9 x 13 inch pan with baking paper.
To make the crust, sift the icing sugar into the bowl of your stand mixer. Add the flour and salt. Fit the mixer with the paddle attachment and mix on a low speed to combine.
Add the butter and mix on a low speed just until a dough forms.
Put the dough in the pan and press it evenly into the base and about 1/2 an inch up the sides. This will take a little time and is annoying, but keep at it.
Line the crust with parchment paper and fill with pie weights or dried beans. Bake the crust about 25 – 35 minutes, until it evenly colours and is a deep golden brown. I had to uncover mine for the last 5 minutes.
While the crust is baking, make the filling. Combine the flour and sugar in a large mixing bowl. Add the lemon juice and zest and mix to dissolve the sugar.
In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs and the egg yolk with salt.
Add the eggs into the lemon and sugar mixture and whisk until well combined.
Once the crust is golden, pull the oven rack out of the oven slightly and pour the filling into the crust while it is still in the oven.
Reduce the oven temperature to 150 C (300 F) and bake for 30 – 40 minutes, until the center is just set.
Allow the bars to cool completely, then chill well in the fridge before cutting.
Dust with icing sugar to serve. Makes 20 bars.