Lemon and Blackcurrant Bars

Hello Everyone!

I hope you’re all well and Monday ins’t getting you down. It’s time for my first recipe back after taking a bit of a baking break and it’s a good one (even if I do say so myself). I came up with this one rather haphazardly as I was off to watch my best friend in an outdoor theatre show. It was a bring-your-own-picnic event and, naturally, I was left in charge of the picnic. I’ve made a LOT of jam this summer and so I thought I’d use some of my particularly scrummy Blackcurrant jam for a recipe to take for a sort of pudding.

Typically, it chucked it down with rain but we had the taste of summer with these for pudding. It’s a great recipe for bringing a little summer zestiness into the autumn and winter with you. You don’t need home-made jam of course, you can buy it and absolutely use a different flavour if you don’t like blackcurrant, although you may want to leave the lemon out of the sponge depending on which flavour you use.

There are a few stages to this recipe so I’d say it’s definitely one for a lazy Sunday afternoon – nothing tricky about it at all but it takes a little time. My boyfriend’s work colleagues were the second round of testers for this one and I’m told it was a resounding office success!

Lemon and blackcurrant bars

You Will Need:

For the Pastry:
225g Plain Flour
100g Cold Butter
Some Cold Water

For the Cake:
112g Self-Raising Flour
112g Margarine
112g Caster Sugar
2 Large Eggs
1 Teaspoon Baking powder
Grated Zest of 1 small Lemon

Blackcurrant Jam

You’ll need a tin around 20cm square or a close enough size rectangle tin will work too and some baking paper.

What To Do:

The first thing to do is make the pastry as it will need to chill for a bit before you use it. Put the flour in a bowl and chop the butter into it.

Butter and Flour

Use a knife to break it up within the flour to start with and once you’ve got as small as you can that way then use your fingers to rub it in until you have a mix that looks like bread crumbs.

Incorporating Butter and Flour with a knife
Rubbed in butter looking like breadcrumbs

Now You want to add your water a little at a time. I normally start with 2 Tablespoons, mix that in and then add more as needed. You only want to mix enough in for it all to JUST come together, don’t let it get too wet. I normally use about 5-6 tablespoons in all.

Once you’ve brought the mix all together, wrap it in some cling-film and chill in the fridge for around half an hour, or until its all firmed up. (If you are in a hurry, you can pop it in the freezer for around ten minutes.)

Pastry wrapped and ready for the fridge

Once it’s all chilled down then you can roll it out. You will need about half the amount you have made.

Pastry Block

Roll it out to just less than the thickness of a pound coin and cut out a square/rectangle the size of the tin you are making. Cutting around the tine works well for this as having it a little bigger so that its curves up the sides a little will help keep your jam in when baking later on.

Rolled Out Trimmed Pastry

Line your tin with baking paper and then lay your pastry on top.

Pastry Lined Tin

Then on that, lay another layer of baking paper and some baking beans or something similar to weigh the pastry down.

Baking beans on top on pastry

Bake this in the oven at 190°C for around fifteen minutes, remove the beans and top layer of paper and put it back in for another five so it crisps up a bit.

Cooked pastry layer

Take the pastry out of the oven and leave in the tine to one side. Turn the oven down to 180°C.

Now it’s time to make the cake. In a bowl or a stand mixer, cream together the margarine and sugar until smooth.

Butter aand Sugar Creamed together

Add all the other cake ingredients to this and beat well until you have a well combined batter. You may need to scrape down the sides to make sure everything is incorporated.

Cake Ingredients
Cake Batter

Spread a thin layer of jam onto your pastry – pretty much the same as you would onto toast, just don’t go overboard or your bars will fall apart.

Jam on Pastry

Next, put dollops of the cake mixture over the top and spread together to entirely cover the jam. Try and do this carefully so as not to get the jam mixed in with the cake too much.

Cake Batter Layer on top

Pop this into the oven and bake for around 25 minutes (my oven is fairly slow so please keep an eye if you know yours runs hot – maybe five minutes less!) It will be done when the cake is risen, golden and springs back when you push it lightly with your finger.

Transfer the cake onto a cooling rack (this is where baking paper comes in handy as you don’t want to turn it upside down).

Full Cake

Slice into bars or squares when completely cool. Use a sharp knife to avoid a terribly mess!!

Cutting the cake

And that’s that. You have some beautiful Lemon and Blackcurrant bars to share and enjoy. They are particularly moreish with a sweet but tart note and rather nice with a cup of tea!

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Let me know if you make these and how they go.

Happy Baking

Kate:)

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