June 25th, 2012
By Paula Bowman
Preheat oven to 350ºF. Line an 8-x8-inch pan with a strip of parchment paper that covers the bottom and sides, and hangs over the edges by 2 inches. (This helps to lift the finished the squares from the pan.)
To Prepare Crust:In the large bowl of a food processor, combine pistachios and 1/3-cup sugar and pulse until ground. Add 1 cup flour, and ¼ teaspoon salt and pulse until blended. Add butter and pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal and just begins to come together. Turn out flour mixture into prepared pan and press with your hands or the back of a measuring cup until the crust is pressed down to an even thickness to the edges. Bake until light golden brown, about 22 to 25 minutes. Remove from the oven, leaving oven temperature on at 350F.
To Prepare Filling:/Place strawberries in a fine mesh strainer and mash, using a wooden spoon or rubber spatula. Push to extract as much juice and pulp as possible, straining out the seeds. You should have about 1/2 cup strawberry puree; set aside.
Combine the remaining 1 ½ cups sugar, 1/3 cup flour, lemon zest and pinch of salt in a large bowl and whisk to blend. Add the egg whites and eggs to the bowl with the dry ingredients and whisk until blended. Whisk in strawberry puree and lemon juice until smooth.
Pour the strawberry mixture over the hot crust and bake until the center is just set and no longer jiggles when gently shaken, about 25 to 30 minutes.
Transfer to a wire rack to cool. Cover and chill in the refrigerator, at least 2 hours. To serve, use the parchment paper to lift the bars from the pan, place on a cutting board and slice into bars using a knife dipped in hot water. Dust the tops with icing sugar if desired.
Chef’s Note: If you don’t have a food processor to make the crust, use a fork, a pastry blender or your fingers to cut the butter into the flour.
To Toast Pistachios: Place shelled pistachios in single layer in a dry skillet over medium heat. Cook, shaking the pan frequently, until nuts begin to turn golden brown, about 5 minutes. Remove to a plate to cool.