Jack’s Lemon Bars

For the Love of Lemons, Part 3 – By Dianne Boate

Being involved with this wonderful project has produced a new, beneficial “mindset” – everywhere I look, I see lemon possibilities. Many of the recipes on food magazine pages pop out because of lemon juice, lemon zest, or just a lemon slice for decoration. And then this: Fruits, vegetables, fish, meat, salads, desserts, drinks, no longer taste right unless there is lemon involved, a little hard to deal with if you are a guest at a party or out to dinner. Perhaps I should carry lemons with me!

This week we are turning to recipes from Jack Porter, a San Franciscan who hosts events in his home, and does not dare leave out the lemon recipes he is famous for. For some strange reason, the times I’ve been to his home I never ate them – so it was a delightful surprise to make his recipes and discover how wonderful they are.

Please read through recipes and any Notes before you begin.

Jack’s Lemon Bars
½ cup softened butter
1 cup sifted flour
¼ cup powdered sugar
¼ teaspoon salt


Mix well together until crumbly and butter is all incorporated – it should hold a shape. Pat into an 8 x 8 non-greased pan. Bake this at 350 degrees for 10 minutes.


2 eggs
¼ teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons flour
1 cup sugar
3 tablespoons lemon juice (1 ½ lemons)
grated lemon rind from lemons, above


Whisk all together and pour over baked crust. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 more minutes. Cool. Then cut into squares and serve. Jack likes to sprinkle with powdered sugar.


These are best eaten freshly made. You will think you have gone to Lemon Heaven.

Jack’s Lemon Tart
8 tablespoons butter in pieces
¼ cup sugar
½ teaspoon vanilla
1 cup flour
1/8 teaspoon salt


In mixer bowl, cream butter, adding sugar and vanilla, beat until light and fluffy. Whisk flour and salt together, add to creamed mixture, mix until dough is formed. Press over bottom and sides of a 9 –inch tart pan. Prick dough with a fork, chill in freezer at least 30 minutes prior to baking, then bake for 25 minutes in a preheated 375 degree oven. Cool.


½ cup sugar
2/3 cup lemon juice (about 6 lemons)
1 tablespoon heavy cream
1 large egg yolks
3 large whole eggs


In a saucepan whisk sugar and lemon juice together, adding gradually cream and eggs. Cook over medium heat, whisking constantly until thick – about 4 minutes. Strain filling into bowl but do not force egg/flour bits through sieve. Pour into baked shell and bake 4 minutes in 375 degree oven.


Cool and top with whipped cream if desired. Store, covered, in refrigerator.


This recipe is worth the effort! It is a keeper in more ways than one – for three days after baking it was still terrific. You may see a similarity in the crusts of these recipes, but note that one is with powdered sugar and one is with granular sugar. As my father was fond of saying, “The same, only different”.

Coming up next: Lemon Chiffon Cake, and how I turned it into a birthday cake for 100 people.

Dianne Boate
415 751-4955

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