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Monday, March 30, 2009

Lemon Raspberry Bars/Torte/Dessert

What's in a name? Sometimes, in baking, the shape of the pan in which a recipe is baked will affect what the final product is named. Today's main recipe is like that. Baked in a springform or other straight-sided round pan, it is likely to be called a torte; in a 7 X 11 pan, it becomes a bar cookie. Either way, my variation is a simple and fast to make dessert that is rich yet relatively inexpensive.

Raspberry Lemon Dessert

Crust:
1/3 c butter
1/2 c sugar
3/4 c flour

12 oz frozen raspberries, thawed and drained (See NOTE)

Filling:
3 eggs
Juice of 2 lemons, enough for 1/3 c juice
Zest of 2 lemons
3/4 c sugar
1/4 c flour

1. Prepare the crust:
Melt butter in 7 X 11 pan. Cut in the sugar and flour with a fork and then use your fingers to press the well-mixed dough evenly over the pan.

Spread with the well-drained raspberries and bake at 375 for about 10 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, beat the eggs and 3/4 cup of sugar until thick and light colored. Fold in the lemon juice and zest and the 1/4 cup flour, stirring just until blended. Pour over the raspberries and crust and bake at 325 degrees for about 20 minutes, until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. (If the top begins to brown too soon, cover lightly with a piece of aluminum foil.)

3. When cool, sprinkle with powdered sugar. Cut in small squares after cooling. Store, tightly covered, in the refrigerator.

Makes 18 to 24 squares, depending on the size serving you prefer.

NOTE: I have raspberries in my garden and freeze them in 8 to 12 oz bags. I thaw the berries and then, while still in the bag, allow the juice to flow into a bowl, squeezing the berries to be sure they are well-drained. You could also put the berries in a colander and press lightly with the back of a spoon. The berries should not be very juicy for this recipe, but you also do not want to squeeze out all the pulp and be left only with the seeds!

What to do with the Raspberry Juice?
I usually have as much as half a cup of raspberry juice left from the squeezing. That is just too wonderful to throw away so here are a couple of uses for the juice:

Stir a half cup in with the water used to reconstitute a 12 oz can of frozen lemonade concentrate for a brisk summery cooler.

Add the juice to your next slushy drink; this is especially good with an orange or apple juice and frozen banana combination.

Make a raspberry sauce for serving over a basic cake, ice cream, vanilla yoghurt, or even rice pudding.

Raspberry Sauce

1/2 c raspberry juice
1/4 c water
1/4 to 1/3 c sugar--to taste
1 T cornstarch

Combine the sugar and cornstarch in a microwave-safe bowl. Because the sauce will bubble up when cooked, be sure the bowl is large enough. Stir in the water to make a thick paste and then gradually stir in the raspberry juice. When well blended, put in microwave on medium power for 2 to 3 minutes, stirring once or twice, until it has bubbled up and become clear. Store in the refrigerator.

Variations: May add a half teaspoon of lemon juice or a quarter teaspoon of almond extract.

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