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THE LITTLE FOODIE


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Carrot evens out tartness of lemon in dessert bars

By Mariko Jackson

POSTED:
LAST UPDATED: 03:30 p.m. HST, Mar 26, 2014


My husband and I disagree on the necessity of balancing the five tastes: bitter, salty, sweet, sour and umami. This is the guy that says he's going off sugar and then justifies eating frosted Pop Tarts because they're "not dessert." The issue that actually engages us in battle of the wills at dinnertime is my preference for a little sour, or acid, to balance out earthy or sweet flavors. 

When I make hummus, he looks over my shoulder as I squeeze in lemon, and when he makes hummus, it tastes like roasted garlic, toasted beans and honey. He does not like pickles, and he can't eat much sushi because the vinegar overwhelms him. When he made a batch of carrot juice, I could barely drink the stuff. I added some lime juice and thought it much improved, but he couldn't believe how I'd ruined it.

So it wasn't surprising that after perfecting my new lilikoi bar recipe, he said it was too sour. Since he is always honest about what I cook, I thought about the recipe all weekend.

During our Sunday afternoon round of juicing carrots, I grabbed some and added it to the lemon juice already in the fridge. 

This was my answer. The acid still reacts to create a curdlike texture, but the carrot helps even out the tartness. You can decide how sweet you need to go, as much as half carrot, half lemon, depending on who you're making these for. 

CARROT AND LEMON BARS

>> Crust:
1-1/2 cups flour
3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt

>> Filling:
1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon flour
1-2/3 cups sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
5 eggs
1-1/4 cups mix of up to half carrot and half lemon juice (my ideal is 1/4 cup carrot and 1 cup lemon)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In bowl, mix flour, butter, sugar and salt. Use your hands to create a crumbly dough. Pat into bottom of 9-by-13-inch pan. You may need to wet your hands slightly to keep dough from sticking to them. 

Bake 20 to 23 minutes. Dough should be just beginning to dry and look slightly toasted at edges. Cool while making filling. (For best results, cool completely before pouring in filling.)

Make the filling just before pouring into crust: In large bowl, whisk flour, sugar and salt.

In separate bowl, beat eggs thoroughly, then add to flour mixture. Whisk until completely blended, about 20 seconds. Pour in juice mixture and whisk until there are no egg-white strands.

Pour filling onto crust and bake 17 to 20 minutes or a little longer if crust was cooled completely. Remove from oven when filling is just set but still slightly jiggly. It will set as it cools.

Cool, then cut into bars and serve, or chill a few hours before serving. (I prefer them cold, but sometimes you just can't wait.) Makes 24 bars.

Approximate nutritional information, per serving: 170 calories, 7 g fat, 4 g saturated fat, 55 mg cholesterol, 115 mg sodium, 25 g carbohydrate, no fiber, 17 g sugar, 2 g protein.






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