Sometimes you want to make a recipe that is just big on 'wow' factor. Sometimes you want to make something that is fun and crowd-pleasing. These bars are both, and they make a 9 x 13 pan full so makes enough to share with a crowd.
If you've never made curd before, this is a fairly straightforward recipe, and does not involve baking the bars twice. Often bars made with a curd will require baking to set the crust and then again to set the filling. This one incorporates a good amount of butter in the curd to provide a lovely mouthfeel as well as setting abilities. Note the optional step of straining the curd after cooking it on the stovetop (over simmering water, a make-shift double burner). If you want the curd to be smooth, be sure to follow this step. If you don't mind bits of zest or cranberries, you can go ahead and skip it.
I hope you enjoy this beautiful treat!
yields one 9 x 13 pan of bars
8 ounces gingersnap cookies + graham crackers (about half and half of each, but your preference)
1 cup pecans, optional
6 tablespoons unsalted butter melted
3/4 cup white chocolate chips (or 6 oz high quality bar, chopped)
1 12-ounce package fresh (or frozen thawed) cranberries
1 cup + 1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
4 large egg yolks
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
1 teaspoons finely grated lime zest
1/2 cup fresh lime juice
Pinch of kosher salt
3/4 cup (1½ sticks) unsalted butter room temperature, cut into pieces
Whipped cream (for serving)
Start with the crust:
Preheat oven to 350°. Pulse cookies in a food processor until very finely ground (you should have about 1 cup). Add pecans if using; pulse until finely ground. Add butter and brown sugar; pulse to combine. Transfer to a 9 x 13 pan. Using a measuring cup, press firmly onto bottom of dish. Bake until firm and slightly darkened in color, 10-15 minutes.
Once the crust is browned, sprinkle the white chocolate over the crust and return the pan to the oven for one minute. Once softened, gently spread the chocolate over the crust, making as even a layer as possible. Let cool. Do Ahead: Crust can be baked 1 day ahead. Store tightly wrapped at room temperature.
Next make the filling:
Bring 12 oz. cranberries, 1 cup granulated sugar, and ¼ cup water to a boil in a large saucepan over medium-high. Reduce heat; simmer until cranberries burst and most of the liquid evaporates, 12-15 minutes. Let cool. Purée in a blender until very smooth.
Combine purée, eggs, egg yolks, lemon zest, lime juice, salt, ½ cup sugar, and 1 tsp. lime zest in a heatproof bowl. Whisk well, and then set over a saucepan of simmering water (bowl should not touch water), stirring with a rubber spatula and scraping down sides of bowl often, until curd thickens and coats spatula, 8-10 minutes. Optional: If you want the curd to be perfectly smooth, press the curd through a sieve over a large bowl. Discard bits that remind in the sieve. Let cool until just warm.
Using an electric mixer on medium-high, beat curd, adding butter a piece at a time and incorporating after each addition, until curd looks lighter in color and texture, about 5 minutes. Scrape into crust, spread evenly, and chill until firm, about 2 hours.
To serve, cut into small bars. Enjoy!