Monday, May 23, 2011

Our first lemon...Yum! The most Lemon-y Lemon Bars

I think I may have mentioned (once or twice) that Inspector Climate and I bought a lemon tree together about 4 months ago. Besides being our first step into growing our own food, this lemon tree was the first thing that we bought that was ours. And of course, it symbolises the way, someday, that we'd like to live our life together. Growing our own food, sustaining our selves, and taking care of this earth in the best way that we know how. I've mentioned before that I grew up eating nearly an entirely organic and locally grown (by my mother) diet. The more I learn about sustainability and climate change, the more I've begun to realise how incredibly important what we eat features into how to how we will adapt and respond to The Problem We Face. And even more than that, how a portion of the solution could be in growing some of our own food ourselves or within our communities. It seems simple right?

So, that brings us to our lemon tree. And our one lemon (so far!). We knew before we left on holidays that the lemon was nearly ripe, but we wanted to make sure it was absolutely perfect before we picked it.

And to add to the cheese factor:

One day when I was clicking clicking clicking through different food blogs I found this recipe from David Lebovitz. It was perfect because you use every single part of the lemon to make your lemon bars - and what better way to sustainable is there than that?

I HIGHLY recommend trying these, they are incredibly simple and so absolutely lemon-y that it'll blow your mind. But, because you use the WHOLE lemon rind, pith, the works - I will have to insist that you use an organic lemon. Now of course, I adapted these to make them gluten free, if you're not hindered by gluten go ahead and use a cup of normal flour. Also, sadly you do need the juice from a second lemon.


2/3 cup plain gluten free flour (I used plain gluten free White Wings flour)

1/3 cup almond meal

1/4 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
115g melted unsalted butter
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Lemon Topping

1 lemon, organic
1 cup sugar
45ml freshly squeezed lemon juice - from the second lemon.
3 large eggs, room temperature
4 teaspoons corn starch
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons melted unsalted butter

1. Preheat oven to 160 degrees C fan forced.

2. Line an 8 inch square pan with foil or baking paper. Make it as smooth as possible around corners and edges.

3. In a medium bowl, mix all the crust ingredients together. I found that in gluten free land, the batter was REALLY too wet, so I added another tablespoon or so of gluten free flour to thicken it up a bit.

4. Smooth the batter into the bottom of the pan, using your hands try to make it as smooth as possible.

5. Bake the crust for 25 minutes, or until it’s deep-golden brown.

6. While the crust is cooking, cut the lemon in half, remove the seeds, and cut the lemon into chunks.

7. Put the chunks of lemon in a food processor or blender. As you can see from the photo below, the food processor we have at our disposal is quite small. So I just put in the lemon juice and lemon chunks and blitzed it until mostly smooth. In a bowl, I used a wooden spoon to beat together the sugar, corn starch, eggs, salt, and melted butter.

8. When the crust comes out of the oven, reduce the heat of the oven to 150ºC - or 130ºC fan forced. Pour the lemon filling over the hot crust and bake for 25 minutes or just until the filling stops jiggling and is barely set. It took our filling to stop jiggling at about 35 minutes. Inspector Climate's oven is not the most consistent.

9. Remove from the oven and let cool completely. Once cool, carefully lift out the bars grasping the foil. Cut the bars into squares or rectangles. Sift powdered sugar over the top just before serving, if desired.

Devour and enjoy the lemon-y goodness.

And for those keeping track, this makes recipe 7/100 on my life list.


  1. I love anything lemony so those look really yummy! Yay for lemons!

  2. So this doesn't really have anything to do with your post, except the word "lemon," [although I am utterly intrigued with the nibbit of your organic upbringing that you shared and wondering more about that(like, what were Daddy-O's views, etc)], but I bought some organic Lemon Thyme for my garden yesterday that is OUT OF THIS WORLD! Smells awesome, grows profusely and has pretty little purple flowers on top of yellow-green leaves!

  3. Never heard of using all of the lemon for a recipe. Why not! My husband has a habit of eating the lemon (not the rind). Way too sour without sugar though.

  4. i love lemons and the fact you have a lemon tree :) xx

  5. Yummy, yummy, yum yum! That looks fantastic. And congratulations on your one lemon to date!

  6. Yay! That lemon looks so beautiful and I totally need to make some lemon bars soon:) Have a great Monday, my dear
    Kisses and hugs

    Ps: I’m hosting a cute scarf GIVEAWAY later today! Just in time for summer

  7. Love your lemon tree and love your cheesy photo. I'm not a big lemon bar fan, although my husband is. Maybe I'll be a good wife and give these a try for him. They're very pretty. :) xo

  8. i LOVE lemon bars - so jealous that you have a cute lemon tree in your yard!

  9. Growing your own produce is so exciting! That's a beautiful lemon :)

  10. Love lemon bars and this looks like a great recipe. Isn't it funny how exciting it is to get fresh fruit/veggies from the yard? Love it!

  11. How exciting that you've got lemons growing!!! The lemon bar looks yummy!

  12. I absolutely love the cheese factor! Also, your finished product looks so good, it's giving my intense lemony sugar cravings late at night! Nice photography there too.

  13. OMG. I'm DYING. I think it is so beyond fabulous that you have a lemon tree to be more sustainable. I dream of the day that I can take my herbs and expand to a working garden (mind you, this is five years down the road in our next house...hahahahaha).

  14. I have only acquired a taste for lemon desserts as I've gotten older. Three years ago, I would've though "this dessert looks nice, but it's not for me." Now I'm thinking "DELICIOUSNESS!"

  15. I absolutely love the symbol of the lemon tree -- and all its meanings. I think if we all took little steps to eat and live more sustainable, we'd make big differences. And I've never thought about using an entire lemon in the food processor for lemon bars. I usually just use the rind and juice (and I make pretty mean lemon bars).

  16. Yum- I love lemon bars! Love the fresh lemon!

  17. Thank you so much for sharing this, not only are you inspirational, but right on point because my 2 meyer lemon trees that I have babied for 2 years are about to yield a nice big juicy crop and this recipe is something I'll be making for sure! I love that he uses the whole lemon.

    xo Mary Jo

  18. Yummm that sounds and looks soo good ! :)

  19. That looks so good! I can't believe you use the peel and all, I bet they're delish!

  20. This looks SO awesome and you are inspiring me to grow my own lemons! Thanks for sharing the yummy recipe!

    Chic 'n Cheap Living

  21. Tammy - They are so superbly lemon-y!

    The Zadge - My dad is a big fan of keeping toxins out of his life, so he is all for the organicness. Maybe I'll write a post on this more later.

    Mil - When I first cut open the lemon - Inspector Climate was like "can I taste it" I had to be very firm with him!

    Eleanor - I love our lemon tree!

    Amanda - It was sooooo delicious, seriously YUM.

    Diana - Definitely try these ones! DELISH

    Chris - Aw, I am sure he would appreciate the gesture.

    Gloria - We actually have a dwarf lemon so that it can live in a pot - in otherwords, you too could have a lemon tree!

    Megan - It definitely is and I can't wait to grow more!

    Alexa - I created a dance sung to the repetitive lyrics of "we're going to pick a lemon, we're going to pick a lemon" that's how excited I was!

    Crazy Shenanigans - So good! Only that one lemon! Le sigh.

    Susan - we like cheese :)

    Kat - I dream of the day I can have an herb garden! :)

    theeclecticlife - I know, it's very interesting how tastes change isn't it? I used to hate olives!

    Brandi - I had never considered it either, until I found this recipe, but it really is quite delicious and adds a bit of extra tartness to all that sugar.

    Meri - Well, definitely give these a try and tell me what you think!

    Mary Jo - Aw, shucks, thank you! If using meyer lemons use a bit less sugar in the topping!

    Victoria - the bars were FABULOUS.

    Aqui - I know! it's a bit crazy, but it tasted great.

    Brooke - So yum!

    Chic n cheap living - definitely give it a go!

  22. MMmmmm, lemon bars are my favorite. It's great you actually cooked with it. If I could actually grown anything I think I would be too happy that something grew that I wouldn't want to touch it.

  23. I love lemons so, naturally, I love this post. Add on top of that your eco-friendly lifestyle! It's always great to meet others who care about this world and do their best to live a sustainable lifestyle. I hope this lemon tree may be the first of many beautiful things to help you live the life you envision for yourself.

  24. Whoaa..I'd like to grow my own lemon tree !!

    Looks delicious and something that I'd like to try.

    Thanks for sharing this.

  25. Aw! Your lemon tree is so cute and those bars look so yummy!! I love anything lemony, which is why I love Key Lime Pie so much.

  26. Aaahhh! You killed it! Kidding. Looks yummy - I just picked up a lemon tree the other day. I've been missing those Florida lemons. Can't wait!