Olive oils with sweet notes can be used for baking and are especially good in quick breads and bars like these.
For the shortbread crust:
- 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 3 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar
- 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
- 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 10 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes
For the curd:
- 4 to 6 lemons (enough for 3/4 cup of juice)
- 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs, plus 3 yolks
- 1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
- Pinch of fine sea salt
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- Confectioners’ sugar and flaky sea salt, such as Maldon, for sprinkling
Heat the oven to 325°F and line a 9 x 9 baking pan with enough parchment to hang over two of the sides (to be used as handles later to lift the bars out of the pan).
Make the crust: Pulse together the flour, granulated sugar, confectioners’ sugar, lemon zest, and salt in a food processor, or whisk together in a large bowl. Add the butter and pulse (or use two knives or your fingers) to cut the butter into the flour until a crumbly dough forms. Press the dough into the prepared pan and bake until the crust is pale golden all over, 30 to 35 minutes.
While the shortbread is baking, prepare the lemon curd: Grate 1/2 tablespoon of zest from the lemons and set aside. Squeeze lemons to yield 3/4 cup juice.
In a small saucepan over medium heat, whisk together the lemon juice, sugar, eggs and yolks, cornstarch, and fine sea salt until boiling and thickened, 2 to 5 minutes. Make sure the mixture comes to a boil and stays there for 30 seconds or so; you should see it thicken up before you take it off the heat. But once it boils, do not cook for longer than 1 minute or you risk the curd thinning out again. Remove the curd from the heat and strain into a bowl. Whisk in the butter, olive oil, and lemon zest.
When the shortbread is ready, take it out of the oven and carefully pour the lemon curd onto the shortbread base; return the pan to the oven. Bake until the topping is just set, 10 to 15 minutes more. Allow to cool to room temperature, then refrigerate until cold before cutting into bars. Sprinkle with confectioners’ sugar and flaky sea salt right before serving.
Makes 24 bars — Recipe from cooking.nytimes.com