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Strawberry Basil Lemon Bars

July 17, 2012

JULY 16th, 2012 — Since 2 of our co-workers at Partizan were leaving, moving on to bigger and better things, me and another intern, Steph, took it upon ourselves to bake goodbye treats. Trying to break my way in to the field with obnoxious foodie-ism, I struck up with the idea of nuancing lemon bars with strawberries and basil.

So what did you do?
I first had to do the prepwork, which was quite time-consuming. If you’re in a pinch for time, this would be where you might want to purchase things like lemon juice, strawberry puree (or juice if you’re really feeling un-hippie), and chopped (fresh) basil.
What I did first was chop the basil finely (roughly 2/3 cup fresh leaves), roughly chop 1 1/4 cup fresh strawberries and puree them, and then squeeze 4 lemons and zest ’em (2-3 tsp).

In the mean time to help me out with the time, my apartment-mate Cara helped me start on the dough:
-1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
-1/4 cup fine sugar
-1/2 cup butter (1 stick <–about as Paula Deen as I will get)
-1/4 tsp salt
-1 tsp lemon zest
Thank God for the KitchenAid stand mixer that mixed the dough into the perfect consistency. If you don’t have one of those, use a pastry blender after chopping the butter into cubes.
Spread the dough onto the bottom of a large greased pan. Bake the dough at 350 for 15-17 minutes.

For the filling, beat together:
-3/4 cup lemon juice
-2 tsp lemon zest
-1 cup pureed strawberries
-3/4 cup chopped basil
-1 cup sugar
-4 beaten eggs
-1/4 cup all-purpose flour
-1/2 tsp baking powder
-1/4 tsp salt
It’s super important to get this as smooth as possible. Flour lumps absolutely prohibited—so we used a blender for the filling, which is watery enough that the blender can take it.

Right after the crust has baked, when it’s still hot, pour the filling over the crust and bake for 23-26 minutes.

Let cool for 10 minutes and then put the whole tray in the fridge to chill. The filling will harden and be much easier to cut into bars.

Result was amazing. I’m glad I favored the strawberry flavors more in strawberry-lemon ratio, as well as be pretty liberal with the basil mix-in. I was afraid I overdid it, but despite the strength of basil, it’s a shadowy flavor that completely accommodates an intense strawberry flavor. Nothing could be a brighter dessert for summer. Everything tasted really fresh. (Glad I added less sugar to the filling to make that happen.) So damn good.

Lessons learned?
Don’t be afraid of the basil. I saved the leftover chopped strawberries and basil in a bowl and stirred it in my plain Greek yogurt the next morning for breakfast.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. A Table in the Sun permalink
    July 19, 2012 1:54 AM

    l love the idea of using basil in a dessert!

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