By Susana Ferraris
January 7th, 2014
In the Philippines, Calamansi, a type of lime (Citrofortunella microcarpa) is a popular and important ingredient in many savory dishes. It's squeezed over noodle dishes, used as a marinade and sauce for beef with onions (Bistek Tagalog) and is an essential ingredient for many dipping sauces. It also makes a refreshing limeade. I recently harvested an abundance of Calamansi from a couple of bushes we have in our back patio. Here is a delicious way of using the juice of this small citrus in a popular American sweet, the lemon bar.
Cook: Susana Ferraris
Source: Adapted from The International Cookie Cookbook by Nancy Baggett
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup powdered sugar (confectioner's sugar)
10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces (pinch of salt, optional)
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
4 large eggs
1/3 cup calamansi juice (about 2 teaspoons calamansi rind, very finely chopped or cut into very thin slivers, optional)
2 to 3 tablespoons powdered sugar
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 7 1/2 by 11 3/4 inch shallow flat baking pan.
To prepare shortbread by hand, sift flour, powdered sugar, and salt, if using, into a medium bowl. Sprinkle butter pieces over flour mixture. Using a pastry blender, forks or fingers, work butter into flour until mixture until mixture resembles fine meal. Add 2 teaspoons cold water and toss with a fork until mixture begins to hold together. If necessary, add a bit more water, but be very careful not to over moisten.
To prepare dough with a food processor, combine flour, powdered sugar, and salt, if using, in a processor fitted with a steel blade. Process in on/off pulses for about 5 seconds to mix. Sprinkle butter pieces over flour mixture. Process in on/off pulses for about 1 minute, or until butter is cut into dry ingredients and mixture resembles coarse meal. Add 2 teaspoons cold water and process in on/off pulses until dough just begins to hold together and forms a ball. Add a bit more water if necessary, but do not over moisten or over process.
Turn dough into prepared baking pan and using fingers or the back of a wooden spoon, press it out toward edges to form a smooth, uniformly thick layer.
Place in center of the oven and bake for 15 to 17 minutes, or until just beginning to color at the edges.
Meanwhile, prepare the filling. Combine granulated sugar and flour in a small deep bowl. Add eggs and beat with a fork until frothy. Add calamansi juice, and calamansi rind, if using, and beat until smooth.
Remove shortbread from the oven and let stand for 3 to 4 minutes. Pour filling evenly over shortbread and return pan to oven. Bake for 21 to 23 minutes longer, or until the filling appears set when lightly touched in the center and edges are beginning to color. Remove from the oven. Place pan on a wire rack and let stand until completely cooled. When cool, sift 2 to 3 tablespoons powdered sugar lightly over the top. Using a sharp knife, cut into small bars or squares. Carefully remove bars from pan with a spatula.
Makes 20 to 24 small bars.