Our friend Mike was disappointed last time he was here for a picnic. I almost always put out these simple lemon bars and he was definitely expecting them. My family just calls this "lemon dessert" because the first time we had it my Aunt Retha's mother, Grandma Engle, made it for a casual dinner in the summer and this is what she called it. I have the recipe Aunt Retha wrote out for me on a small card in red ink, one of those things I will probably have forever.
Here you go Mike, you can make them any time you want now!
1 stick real butter, cold, cut into small bits
1 tablespoon sugar
1 cup all purpose flour, I use spelt and no one can tell the difference
8 oz. package cream cheese, softened to room temperature
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1 can lemon pie filling
2 cups heavy cream
2 tablespoons powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350F. Line a 9x13 inch baking pan with parchment paper, leaving excess over the sides for lifting the bars out later.
In a small bowl, stir together the dry crust ingredients
then cut in the butter.
Until it looks like course crumbs.
Press into the lined pan
and bake for 12-15 minutes until lightly golden.
Set aside to cool.
In a small mixing bowl, beat together the layer 1 ingredients and spread onto the cooled crust.
Open the can of lemon pie filling and spread it on top of this.
Beat the layer 3 ingredients until fluffy. By the way, cream, sugar and vanilla is commonly referred to as Chantilly cream or just "yummy goodness"! Spread the cream mixture on top of the lemon.
Chill in refrigerator. Lift out and cut into squares.
I have made this same recipe with blueberry pie filling or chocolate pudding with great results but nothing tops the lemon for a warm summer picnic.