February 13, 2011

Meyer Lemon Bars


Being a Californian means you get really spoiled when it comes to the abundance of amazing fruits offered here year round.  When I'm hankering for something citrus-y I love to make meyer lemon bars.  Lucky for me both of my brothers and my parents have meyer lemon trees on their property that are never in want of fruit.    Buttery, crisp shortbread topped with refreshing and subtly-sweet curd filling....absolutely delicious!


You don't have to use meyer lemons for this recipe but if you can find them you won't regret it.  The sweetness of the meyer variety is a nice change from the lip-puckering tartness that you'd find with a regular lemon.    

Most recipes have you pour a concoction of lemon juice, eggs and sugar over a warm, partially-baked crust.  Easy enough - but the problem I find with this method is that the filling never seems to set properly even after the bars are baked and cooled.  Try slicing nice even squares and you get sticky and gooey pieces.  Not ideal.  What I love about this recipe is that the filling is pre-cooked, like a curd, and when baked further in the oven its silky smooth texture holds its shape beautifully.   

If you like citrus you can't go wrong with these meyer lemon bars.

Meyer Lemon Bars (adapted from Baking Illustrated)

CRUST
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup powdered sugar, plus more to sprinkle on the finished bars
pinch of salt
8 Tbls unsalted butter, still cool and cut into 8 pieces

FILLING
7 large egg yolks
2 large eggs
1 cup + 2 Tbls sugar
2/3 cup meyer lemon juice (from about 4-5 medium lemons)
finely grated zest from the lemons
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 Tbls unsalted butter, cut in to 4 pieces
3 Tbls heavy cream

For the crust
Cover a 9-inch square cake pan with two sheets of heavy duty aluminum foil, perpendicular to each other.  Spray with nonstick cooking spray and set aside.

Put the flour, powdered sugar and salt in a food processor and process briefly, about 2 seconds.  Add the butter pieces and process to blend, 8 to 10 seconds, then process until the mixture is pale yellow and resembles coarse meal, about three 1-second pulses.  Sprinkle the mixture into the prepared cake pan and press firmly with your fingers into an even layer over the entire pan bottom.  Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Heat the oven to 350 degrees.  Bake the crust until golden brown, about 25 minutes.

For the filling
In a medium saucepan whisk together the egg yolks and whole eggs until combined.  Add the sugar, meyer lemon juice, zest and salt until well combined, about 30 seconds.  

Add the butter pieces and cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until the curd thickens to a thin sauce-like consistency (about 170 degrees on an instant-read thermometer), about 6 minutes.

Immediately pour the curd through a fine-mesh steel strainer set over a medium bowl.  Stir in the heavy cream and then pour the curd into the warm crust.
Bake until the filling is shiny and opaque and the center 3 inches jiggle slightly when shaken, about 10 minutes.  Cool on a wire rack to room temperature, about 45 minutes.  Remove the bars from the pan and transfer to a cutting board.  Cut into 2 inch squares, wiping the knife blade clean between cuts as necessary.  Sieve powdered sugar over the bars, if you'd like.

42 comments:

  1. Wow, these look amazing! I love the colour!

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  2. I love lemon and these look fantastic, yum.

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  3. I just saw meyer lemons at Costco the other day...only in CA! Your photos are so bright and inviting. I may be heading back to purchase a box of lemons now :)

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  4. Oh gosh, those look AMAZING! They remind me of summer.
    Jess : )

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  5. I love that vibrant yellow color on these bars! They sound super delicious!

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  6. The lemons look absolutely beautiful. Your so lucky you can get these.

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  7. I've been searching for a lemon bar recipe without the flour in the lemon topping, this is the one. I love that the color is so vibrant without the flour. Will be making these tonight with some lovely meyers.

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  8. Made these once already, and they were absolutely delicious! I was thinking of trying them again, but maybe with another citrus fruit - do you think the substitution would affect the recipe?? Thanks for the wonderful treat!

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  9. I think you can definitely substitute for another citrus fruit but depending on the fruits tartness you may need to alter the amount of sugar in the filling.

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  10. I made this over the weekend, loved it, I would love to try this w/ mango do you have any suggestions how to substitute the lemon w/ mango? Thanks!

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  11. I haven't had much success using mango in baking. I find that it loses its flavor and doesn't translate well.

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  12. omg, this looks delish! i can't wait to make them! i have always loved everything involving lemon! :)

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  13. First time on your blog, a colleague sent me a link to your lemon bars. They look great and I´m always on the lookout for lemon recipes as I have a Meyer tree in my garden. I will try it with GF flour as I am gluten intolerant. I have already looked through your GF recipes too, which look amazing! Great photos too of course, very stylish.

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  14. Anonymous12/16/2011

    oh wow these look yummy can't wait to try them

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  15. how much salt goes in during this step? "Add the sugar, meyer lemon juice, zest and salt until well combined, about 30 seconds. " i put a pinch in the crust but don't see the amount for the filling ingredients

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  16. I found you via Pinterest - took several jumps to get to you, but these sound sooooo yummy!!!

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  17. Look delicious! Your recipe is really different from the others! I will try to make it this weekend!! thanks for sharing (: by the way your photos are amazing! what camera do you use?

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    Replies
    1. Thank you for the compliment!

      I currently use a Canon T1i (500D)with a 50mm/1.8f or 35mm wide-angle prime lens.

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  18. Anonymous8/02/2012

    That is just so awesome! Love it! 1st time looking this type of recipe.

    Hemlata @ indiamarks.com

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  19. Lemons and citrus fruits are winter fruits!

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  20. How much zest? From all 4-5 lemons?

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    1. Yes, use the zest from all the lemons.

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  21. Made these tonight... they were marvelous! I'm very picky about citrus recipes, and this one was perfect. I used a lot of zest, and then didn't strain it, and I liked the result.

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  22. could graham cracker crust be used with this recipe instead of the flour crust?

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  23. I just bought a large bag of Meyer lemon's at Costco in Albuquerque New Mexico. Think I will give this recipe a go!

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  24. You are making my mouth water! Spring is a long time coming and lemon anything reminds me of spring:)

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  25. Anonymous5/17/2014

    I made these and loved them, and so did everyone else who tried them. I forgot to add the cream at the end, but they turned out awesome anyway! I'm keeping the recipe for sure!

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  26. I've never really tried lemon in my dessert before. It's weird, I know. I saw this and had to try 1 new thing with baking and this was what i found. This was amazing!!! I'm so glad I tried it! Thank you for sharing.

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  27. looking delicious and tasty...
    check this http://www.homemadeyogurt.net/

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  28. Thank you for the nice recipes.

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  29. Uma bela dica, amei.
    Obrigada por compartilhar.
    Tenha um ótimo dia.

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  30. Anonymous7/07/2015

    So easy to make and an instant hit! Thank you so much for sharing this wonderful recipe.

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  31. mine was amazing im keeping this recipe bookmarked and im making it again next week

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  32. Always lemon and lemon flavors, smell making me too much fresh!!! Very nice :)

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  33. Do you think it would work with Rio Red Grapefruits?

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  34. Does anyone know how many this recipe makes?

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  35. Should bake for way more than 10 minutes! I baked it for almost 30 and was still way undercooked and not edible. I recommend putting a little flour in the filling to make it less liquidy.

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  36. I do not have a food processor. Can I use a 7-speed mixer instead?

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  37. I do not have a food processor. Can I use a 7-speed mixer instead?

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  38. I followed Naji's advice but used a bit of cornstarch instead of flour. Mine turned out excellent and was a big hit! Making these again for dessert tonight. ����

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  39. Already made these 3 times. They are one of the best desserts I've ever tasted! They turn out exactly like the picture. I'm from Romania so we don't have those special lemons you mention in the recipe, so I just used regular ones.

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