Lemons grow in many parts of Italy, but most people probably think of the really large lemons that are found in Sorrento and on the Amalfi Coast. They also grow in Sicily, Cinque Terre and even on the balconies of small towns in Lombardy (as in my balcony). 🙂
These cheerful fruits are so popular here that they even have their own festival – The Sagra dei Limoni. It is held every year on the 3rd Saturday in May in the small town of Monterosso – part of the Cinque Terre. The village is decked out in lemons and there are all kinds of products available including marmalades, cakes, creams and of course limoncino. You might be thinking, “Hey, I thought it was called “limoncello.” In Cinque Terre it is called limoncino. Is it the same thing? Yes and no. The ingredients and preparation are the same, but the infusion period is not and this causes the Amalfi version to be a bit creamier.
But back to the subject of this post: limoncello meets all kinds of goodies like cream, butter and sugar. These bars are not only yummy but also pretty. They are bright and cheerful and scream spring. And couldn’t we all use a little extra “bright and cheerful” in our lives right now? If you do, then read on.
For the crust:
2 sticks of unsalted butter, room temperature (equivalent to: 226 grams or 1/2 pound)
2/3 cup granulated sugar
2 cups flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
For the filling:
5 eggs at room temperature
2 cups granulated sugar
1.5 tablespoons grated lemon zest (3 to 4 lemons)
3/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/4 cup limoncello
3/4 cup flour
1 tablespoon heavy whipping cream
confectioners sugar for dusting
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. For the crust, cream butter and sugar until smooth. Mix flour and salt in a separate bowl and then, add to butter mixture and mix until well combined.
3. Press dough, into a baking dish (9×13-inch) fitting it into all corners and including up the sides of the pan.
4. Bake for 15-17 minutes.
5. While the crust is cooling, make the filling by whisking together the eggs, sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice, limoncello and flour and cream. Pour over cooled crust and bake for 30 to 35 minutes. Let cool to room temperature.
6. Cut into adorable squares and dust with confectioners’ sugar.