ALMOND crust LEMON sunshine bars

Traditional lemon bars gets another twist as tangy sweetness is devoured.
Partial almond flour crust balances the creamy custard feathered with powdered sugar.

My theme for the last week has been to concentrate on the cheap and cheerful.

Since my enthusiastic Montreal (silly gripes notwithstanding) constantly inspires me…
I wanted to combine my love of food and travel curiosities close to home.

note: this photo credit goes to my Hubby ;o)

Of course, lemons are not only of good value, they are certainly cheerful.
The newest cheap activity is wondering the streets of Montreal for mural viewings.
This alone, on its merits can definitely put a smile on anyone's face.

The newest Montreal Mural festival is taking place and already some…
promising artists have displayed their talents in spades.
Some were given permanent residency on some prominent walls in trendy neighbourhoods.

My profession always offered me the opportunity to blend the creative with the dramatic.
Interior design on its grand scale can certainly compete with the…
in your face presence that impressive murals surprise us with.
However, as much as I would like to think that my baking or design talents would come...
anywhere close to how incredibly talented this mural artist is...I'd be kidding myself…just a little.

TiraMiS├╣ Galliano LEMON special 
…a more elaborate dessert displaying some of my talent ;o)

One of the latest gigantic murals was just unveiled in our charismatic Mile end neighbourhood.
Female illustrator, Ola Volo has broken a Canadian record…right here in Montreal.

 She has masterminded a stupendous folkloric inspired artwork…
the biggest woman-made mural to adorn our walls.

5605 de Gasp├ę street, (Mile-end) Montreal

To be honest, folkloric art never grabbed my attention until…
I saw it re-created in this incredibly imaginative way.

Her sheer use of vibrant colors…especially the yellow tones…
create sunshine for even the cloudiest day.

Hence, my motivation to work with lemons…sunshine for the soul…
especially since there has been an uncomfortable chill in the air lately.

She wanted this mural to symbolize freedom.
"Art is a space where freedom tests its wings."

 Another of Ola Volo's murals: 268 Saint Viateur street, (Mile-end) Montreal

Now...lets test our freedom in enjoying a little dessert. ;o)

ALMOND crust LEMON sunshine bars
(NOTE: updated recipe)
serves 16 small pieces

(American measures)

Pastry crust base:
. 3/4 cup All-Purpose flour
. 1/2 cup fine ground almonds (blanched almonds)
. 1/4 cup granulated sugar
. 1/8 tsp. sea salt
. 2 Tbsps. Lemon zest, finely grated (2 medium lemons)

. 1/4 cup cold unsalted butter, cubed

. 1 xLarge egg yolk
. 1 to 2 Tbsps. filtered water

Lemon custard:
. 1 xLarge egg white
. 4 xLarge eggs
. 3/4 cup granulated sugar
. 1/4 cup confectioners' sugar
. 1/4 cup All-Purpose flour
. 1/2 cup Lemon juice (~2 medium lemons)
. 1/2 cup Coconut cream milk
. 1/4 cup milk (minimum 2% fat)
. 1/8 tsp. sea salt


. Pre-heat the oven to 400F (will be lowered later).
. Position the rack in the center of the oven.
. Line a 9 inch (or 8x11inch) baking dish with aluminium foil going up the sides.  Grease it with a little oil.
Pastry crust base:
1. In a food processor, place all the DRY ingredients excluding the egg yolk and butter.
2. PULSE a few times before adding the cold, butter through the spout.  Pulse a few more times until the mix looks crumbly.  
3. Keep the food processor on while pouring the egg yolk through the spout.  Slowly add in the water as needed in order to create a soft dough that comes together and slightly off the sides.
4. Press the dough evenly throughout the bottom of greased dish.  Dock it with a fork.   BAKE it for 12 minutes or until golden.
Lemon custard:
5. Wipe the food processor lightly.  Place all remaining ingredients into it. 
. PULSE a few times before whirling it to combine until, creamy smooth (about 1 minute).
6. With a fine sieve, pour the custard into the baked and still very hot pastry crust.

7. LOWER the oven heat to 325F.  BAKE another 30 minutes.  Let it cool for at least 2-1/2 hours before lifting out of the foil in order to cut* the 16 small squares.
* Wet a sharp knife with hot water and wipe.  Cut a few slices and repeat in order to get nice squares.  Garnish with optional icing sugar.
. Store in an airtight container for no more than 2 days.  They unfortunately lose their fresh bite quickly.  They can also be frozen the same day with parchment paper in between.  Then, thaw at room temperature.

After highlighting this artist as well as celebrating women and freedom, 
how can I not want to go out and be more creative and inventive…food involved…of course.

These little goslings were headed in the right direction…
maybe lemon squares were on their minds as well ;o)

Flavourful wishes,

Comments ... ??? ... or suggestions ... write me :o)
Claudia at:  foodessa [at] gmail [dot] com

Go HERE for more SWEET creations.

Please take note on how I bake and cook...
Here’s a 101 of sorts to make sure that there are no disappointments when trying my creations.  
Also...just so you know...feel free to increase the salt and sweet factor since I'm not high on either of them ;o)

. Use DRY cup measurements for...you guessed it...all DRY ingredients.
Anything DRY gets measured by spooning the overfilled ingredient (never shake the cup) and then level off with a flat edged tool.  Exception...Brown sugar should be packed in and leveled.
. Use LIQUID cup measurements for...all LIQUIDS that cannot be leveled like for example butter, yogurt...etc.  Measure the liquids at eye level to avoid overdoing what the recipe truly needs.
OVENS are unfortunately not created equal.  Mine is so old that it has reached many degrees off it's norm.  It's really worth investing a few dollars to test yours with an appropriate oven thermometer.  You'd be surprised how many ovens I've heard about not being where they should have been.  Before you lose any more ingredients and much time preparing a new recipe...run to the store...you'll thank me later.