I really like the Improv Kitchen. My favorite part are her suggestions as to how you can "improv" all the recipes!! The ideas for these bars were a perfect example. Pretty much any berry/citrus pairing you can imagine. I can't wait to try blackberry-lime bars and pink grapefruit!! Make these right now, (or at least this week!) with perfect, end of summer raspberries. You won't regret it, I promise!!
Raspberry Lemonade Bars from The Improv Kitchen
for the crust:
9 T. (1 stick + 1 T.) butter
¼ c. sugar
1 c. flour
1 t. vanilla extract
pinch of salt
for the filling:
12 oz (heaping 2 c.) frozen raspberries thawed (or fresh raspberries!)
¾ c. sugar
⅔ c. lemon juice (about 4 lemons)
2 T. lemon zest (3 lemons worth)
3 egg whites
⅔ c. flour
pinch of salt
Preheat oven to 350º F. Line an 8x8 baking pan with parchment paper AND grease it so you can easily lift the bars out once they've cooled.
Cream the butter and sugar together, then mix in vanilla. Add flour until just incorporated. Dump dough in baking pan and press with your hands until it evenly covers the bottom of the dish. Bake for 20 - 25 minutes until slightly golden brown.
If you, like me didn't have enough time for the raspberries to thaw on their own, place in microwave for 1 minute to soften them up. Then put in a fine mesh sieve and press the berries through (this removes the seeds) into a large bowl. Use a wooden spoon to rub the berries through the mesh, scraping the bottom of the strainer often. If you don't mind seeds, you can add them in whole. Or if you don't have a sieve, you can blend them up in a food processor or blender. (I strained mine, and they were a bit soft. maybe next time i will add seeds and see if they are stiffer??) Add sugar, egg whites, egg, lemon juice + zest, flour, and salt to the bowl and stir to combine. Pour the mixture into the crust (don't worry, it's a very loose mixture, it will thicken) and bake for 25 - 30 minutes.
Let cool to room temperature and then place in the refrigerator for at LEAST 4 hours. You can place them in the freezer if you need them sooner, but refrigerator is best. If you let them cool overnight, they're even better!
Isn't that color amazing?! Hers look even better. But looks are only part of these babies.
They TASTE fantastic!! Sweet, of course, but mouth-puckeringly tart. (you can up the sugar to 1 cup if you like) I'll take these over lemon bars any day!!
I tried stacking them all pretty, but they were a bit softer than I expected. The Leaning Tower of Raspberry!
I love the crust too. It's firm and shortbready, with a great "bite". Hard to describe... you'll just have to make them to find out!!
I recommend them for breakfast (before brushing your teeth!)