So the goal here over at The Sisters Fierce is to write about cooking and baking adventures. I hate to do this, but I have no choice: I’m going to begin with a failure.
Here’s the thing. I can tell you why this happened. I was on a roll. I mean, a real roll. I was turning out perfectly moist pumpkin cake, ginger sandwich cookies with a lemon cream cheese filling, those flavors sang together. I made pizza dough that cooked up crisp like a cracker. I was on FIRE. This is why it happened: it was my turn to fail.
I should have known with the way my day began: I bid on a piece of art online and I lost, bummer. Once I got to work I realized I left my cell phone at home-that always makes me feel a little bit anxious, a little bit stranded. My growling stomach reminded me that I also left my English muffin in the toaster. The day dragged on.
What tricked me into thinking I was together enough to bake that evening? What led me to think that after 8 hours of My Job that I would have energy left for Ye Olde Kitchen Aide and oven?
It was the lemons that called to me, “J Fierce, we’re on sale, a whole bag of us for $1.99. We’re not regular lemons, we’re meyer lemons… don’t leave us here all alone …” and then my mind starts reeling. What should I make with those gorgeous things, the color of a baby chick, bright and cheery? The fragrance is nothing like your typical lemon, they’re almost floraly. Already made a pie, made some ice cream, made scones… It was their request, really. How could I resist?
“We’d be so good in a classic lemon bars recipe, just try it.” The little golden eggs kept stepping up their game, reminding me of their status as the love child of a lemon and a mandarin orange, sweeter and so fragrant. “You probably won’t have this chance next week,” they told me, playing on their notoriously short season. As if they had to do all that work -I would have taken them home with me anyway.
There was a recipe online I had been eying - an update on Ina Garten’s classic lemon bars. It was beautiful. But of course what isn’t beautiful from the Smitten Kitchen? In between commercials (because it was a good tv night) I beat the butter, then I separate the eggs, I make and bake the shortcake crust.
But I should know better. I do know better. I just didn’t listen to myself. The part of me that said, man, this bowl is really full. The filling is too runny. And there is too much of it. Just take some out. I can’t take some out. I followed the recipe to a T. See how it overflows in the pan? You should take some out. No, there’s no leavening, it’ll be fine. I even measured the pan.
It was already late when I realized there was no way I would get my (please don’t hate me) normal 9 1/2 hours of sleep (C Fierce is convinced I’ve had mono since age 13). I figured, eh, what’s wrong with an 11pm bedtime… I can hack it.
I didn’t do myself any favors by painting my left hand’s nails (OPI’s Miami Beet) in between those commercial breaks, either. It turned me into a one-armed baker trying to make a masterpiece on my first showing. After 35 minutes in the oven, I put tinfoil on top to stop the scabby mess from getting any darker. But the curd was still jiggly. I’m not talking “mildly set,” I’m talking “this is questionable for those who have compromised immune systems as I’m sure they shouldn’t be eating raw egg.” That sucker sat in the oven for over two hours before I finally gave up and went to bed.
Of course I sampled the outer edge before I turned in. And once you got underneath the scab top and past the burnt shortbread crust… my god that thing was gorgeous. Canary yellow. Flavor like magic.
And you know what I did when I got off work the next day? Bought another bag of those beauts. I’m going to try this with a different pan this time and see how far it will take me.
Original recipe here (and I won’t even make notes because mine was such a disaster): http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ina-garten/lemon-bars-recipe/index.html