Sunday, March 18, 2018

Matcha White Chocolate Lemon Squares

Easter is coming!

I've always loved this holiday maybe even more than Christmas. It's the pretty pastel colours, the sign of new beginnings, the start of Spring, and the CHOCOLATE.

Mostly it's all about dark chocolate and I am more than fine with that, but this recipe showcases white chocolate paired with bright and earthy flavours.

It's a matcha-infused white chocolate cream cheese ganache atop a simple brown sugar base and a thin layer of tangy lemon curd.

The white chocolate layer is a cross between cheesecake and ganache in that it has as much chocolate as it has cheese, and it also includes an egg to set it into this thick, dense, luscious, velvety smooth texture.

The chocolate I've used is a white chocolate block infused with matcha green tea and rose crystals from River Layne Chocolate, but of course you can use pure white chocolate with just 1/2 teaspoon of matcha green tea powder. The matcha is optional as this recipe would still be equally delicious without it! (I know this because I made it both ways so I could eat it twice - Uh huh!)

I adore this combination of lemon and white chocolate and I use it often. There's the White Chocolate Lemon Curd Tarts in my book, and then there is this lovely recipe for Creamy White Chocolate Lemon Tart that hides a layer of bitter dark chocolate.

The tangy, fresh flavours from lemon curd contrast the creamy sweetness of white chocolate and it just marries perfectly on the palate.

I really recommend that you use a food processor for this recipe as I did because it will ensure a very smooth and silky filling. Adding the egg to the white chocolate mixture will turn it from thick to fluid, and the friction from a food processor will help emulsify all of the liquid from the egg into the dense mixture.

I hope you love it as much as I do!
Big love,

White Chocolate Lemon Curd Bars
makes 9-12 servings

For the base:
¾ cup (105g) all-purpose flour
¼ cup (55g) packed light brown sugar
1/8 tsp baking soda
5 tbsp (70g) salted butter, melted

For the filling:
4 ½ oz (125g) cream cheese, softened
¼ cup (50g) sugar
1 tsp lemon zest
1 large egg, at room temperature
4 ½ oz (125g) white chocolate, melted
1 tsp all-purpose flour

For the topping:
¼ cup (50g) sugar
1 tsp corn starch
1 tsp lemon zest
4 tbsp (60ml) lemon juice
1 large egg, at room temperature
1 tbsp (14g) salted butter

Preheat your oven to 350°F.

To make the crust, combine flour, brown sugar and baking soda in a medium bowl and rub together to remove any lumps of sugar. Add melted butter and begin stirring it in and then blend it with your fingers until well blended and the mixture resembles damp sand. Tip the crumbly mixture into an 8-inch square baking pan and press it evenly into the bottom. Bake for 10-12 minutes, until lightly golden. Transfer pan to a wire rack to cool. Reduce oven temperature to 325°F.

Place cream cheese, sugar and lemon zest in a small food processor and blitz until very smooth and glossy. Scrape down the bowl and blitz again. Add the egg and process until very smooth – the mixture will be loose and runny at this point. Add the melted white chocolate and mix until thick and creamy. Blend in the flour.  Scrape this mixture over the cooled base and spread it out evenly. Place it back into the low oven and bake for 15-20 minutes, until it is dull and slightly puffed around the edges and just set in the middle with a bit of sheen still. It will continue to set as it cools and cooking it just right like this will leave you with the most utterly silky texture. Transfer pan to a wire rack to cool and then refrigerate to set.

Meanwhile make the lemon curd topping. Combine sugar and cornstarch well in a medium heatproof bowl. Add lemon zest and juice and whisk until smooth. Whisk in egg, add butter and place the bowl over a saucepan with ½ inch of simmering water. Continue to whisk until the mixture thickens right up and feels hot. Press it through a sieve to remove any lumps of cooked egg white and into a clean bowl. Let it cool completely and then spread evenly over the cooled slab. Chill until ready to serve.

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