Shaker Lemon Ginger Pie Bars
Shaker pie is full of bright, tangy lemon flavor, and these bars, with their buttery shortbread base, live right up to the legend! A hit of warm ginger brings out the best in this seasonal winter dessert recipe.
It’s Friday morning, and here we are at the end of the first full work-week of 2015. How did you make out? I hope you got tons scratched off your list and are now feeling productive, accomplished, satisfied, and ready for a little weekend R&R.
Our December here in PA was relatively mild, but January seems to want to punish us for it by battering us with bone-chilling wind. I have decided that I just won’t leave the house until spring. That’s doable, right? All I want to do is crank up the oven and nibble on things that are bright and citrus-y and remind me of summer.
These bars will do just that.
I’ve always been a huge fan of the classic lemon bar, with it’s tangy curd topping and buttery shortbread crust, but you guys know I can never leave well enough alone 😉 What makes these special is the “Shaker” element. Have you ever heard of Shaker lemon pie? The Shakers were known for their frugality and so when they made lemon pie, they used the whoooooole lemon. All of it. The peel, the pith, the juice, and the pulp. It’s like nose-to-tail lemon eating, if lemons had noses. Or tails. 😛
The result is something so super-lemony, with an almost marmalade-like texture and flavor. You know how marmalade has that slight hint of pleasant bitterness? That’s my jam. No pun intended. Ok maybe I kinda intended it a little.
As if these weren’t already enough of a flavor bomb, we’re amping it up even more by adding three kinds of ginger: ground, fresh, and crystallized (aka: candied). Ever since creating these little gems, I’ve been itching to combine lemon and ginger again. The tart lemon along with the gentle warmth from the ginger is just the perfect antidote to the biting cold of this time of year! Take that winter!
I used Meyer lemons in my pie bars, so the result was just a little sweeter and milder than regular lemons. Meyer lemons are the love-child of a mandarin orange and a regular lemon. They’re in stores now, so grab ’em while you can! If you can’t seem to find them, regular lemons should still work just fine 😉
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Shaker Lemon Ginger Pie Bars
For the Ginger Shortbread Crust
To make the Ginger Shortbread Crust:
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F, and line a 9x9-inch square pan with parchment.
- Place the flour, powdered sugar, crystallized ginger, ground ginger, and salt in a large bowl. Cut in the cold butter until the mixture resembles coarse meal.
- Lightly press the mixture into the bottom of the prepared pan, and bake for 15 minutes.
To make the Lemon Ginger Filling:
- Using a mandoline or box grater, slice the lemons paper thin over a colander set into a bowl. Roughly chop the lemon slices and add to the bowl, along with the sugar. Set aside and allow to macerate at room temperature for 2 hours.
- Whisk in the eggs, flour, fresh ginger, ground ginger, and salt, and transfer to a small pot. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until slightly thickened (should register 170 degrees F on a candy thermometer).
- Stir in the cream and pour the mixture over the partially baked shortbread crust. Top with additional lemon slices, if desired.
- Bake for 15 minutes, or until set around the edges but still a little wobbly in the center. Cool completely, dust with powdered sugar, and cut into bars.