Dessert Meta Recipe Testing

Work in Progress: Buttermilk Bars

IMG_3815I’m working on a buttermilk bar, which started just as something to have in my arsenal when I have too much buttermilk, but which is now an obsession. I’m taking a short break to ease up on my taste-tester and main dessert eater, my husband, who may have had a few too many bars recently. You know he’d rather have chocolate.

Crust

My first ones tried graham cracker crusts, one with some ground walnuts and one with some almond meal. Both of those were okay, but I now think a butter crust, somewhere between a pie crust and a cookie, would be better, because the kind of filling I’d like to have might be too moist for the graham cracker crust.

Filling

I’m not happy with any of the traditional buttermilk/lemon bar fillings (it’s hard to find any without lemon and I’m okay with that).

  • Most are too thin, like a cookie, and I’d like more of a pie bar that you have to eat with a fork.
  • The texture of most of them is too spongy or eggy, and I’d like something more like a cross between a custard and the lemon filling in a lemon meringue pie. I guess I want something creamy.
    • I think one problem is that most of the recipes I find use flour in the filling as a thickener, and I’m not sure why, since they all use a lot of eggs, like 2 eggs per cup of buttermilk. Too much flour can make the result like that flour paste you used to make in kindergarten.
    • Lemon meringue pie filling uses cornstarch, so that’s one option, but traditional lemon curd just uses egg yolks and sugar—either way, I’m guessing that I won’t be using flour in the next batch. I’ve even considered making lemon curd, substituting buttermilk for the lemon—what would that do? Don’t even try to look up buttermilk curd because you’ll only find cheese.
  • I am not going to use gelatin, as a few recipes call for, because that would just be a version of panna cotta—not what I’m looking for.
  • If I cook the eggs/egg yolks and the buttermilk with sugar and cornstarch, it would be a pastry cream. I don’t really want a tart, which is what pastry cream in a shell is. I want to bake the filling.

I’m still reading recipes for inspiration, but pretty sure I’m jettisoning the flour in the filling and fooling around with the eggs.

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