I always love all things lemon, but when I was pregnant with Izzy I craved sour and tart flavors like lemon, lime, and tart cherry. This pregnancy is proving to be no different. I want to drink lemonade, eat lime popsicles, and bake all things lemon!
The bonus to loving lemon desserts is that my mom has a Meyer Lemon tree in her backyard. Meyer lemons are a little sweeter than your traditional lemon. They are a bit of a cross between an orange and a lemon.
Every winter around January the tree explodes with lemons. And even more than we can use as one family! So, I'm constantly making anything I can with lemon. And lemon bars are by far my favorite lemon treat. I have made lemon bars throughout the years. But I wanted to try a new recipe with a thicker lemon filling layer, and it proved to be a challenge.
My first batch was good but I wanted more lemon flavor and more filling. Even though all of my friends and family loved that recipe, I wanted to bake it better. So my second batch I doubled my filing and increased the amount of lemon juice. I thought it would be fine, it was a complete fail! For some reason the crust ended up rising above the filing so I when I cut a slice I basically ended up with an upside down lemon bar, haha! At first, both Mimi and I were stumped as to why this happened. But, realizing that I let my crust cool the second time and not the first, we realized some lemon custard could have gotten under the crust and then in turn made way for more lemon custard to sink in and allow the crust to come up. So, the trick with lemon bars is to not let your crust cool. You wan to make the crust, and then pour the filling in immediately when it's warm. This way, when you pour the custard onto the warm crust it will actually cook the first layer immediately so it cannot seep into the crust and get underneath it.
And, then I ended up changing the recipe and tried again. This final recipe worked out great and has the right amount of lemon to it. And now I know to make sure to make the crust and then immediately make the filling. I have definitely had my fill of lemon bars for now. But I will be making them again soon, I'm sure. If you can’t get Meyer lemons, that’s ok, you can use regular lemons as well, and you will just have a slightly more tart lemon bar.
Meyer Lemon Bars
Crust 212 grams (1 2/3 cups) organic all purpose flour
1 3/4 sticks (170 grams) organic salted butter, softened
71 grams (1/2 cup) organic powdered sugar, sifted 1 teaspoon organic cane sugar Lemon Filling 6 organic large eggs 226 grams (1 cup) organic cane sugar 1 cup Meyer lemon juice (about 4 to 6 fresh lemons) 21 grams (3 tablespoons) cornstarch 2 to 3 teaspoons grated lemon peel (lemon zest)
organic powdered sugar
Method Preheat oven to 325°F. Line a 9x13-inch pan with parchment paper or grease it well.
To make the crust: In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, add the flour, butter, powdered sugar, and cane sugar. Mix on low until it is crumbly looking but starting to form a dough. Do not overmix into a complete dough or you will have trouble getting an even layer.
Spread the crust evenly into the prepared pan and press down so there is an even layer. Bake for 35 minutes or until golden brown.
While the crust is baking, start the filling. To make the filling: Add all ingredients into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Whisk on low until until smooth, about 3 minutes.
Once the crust comes out of the oven, pour the filling on top of the hot crust.
Bake for 40 minutes or until the filling is set. It will jiggle, but not look like liquid. Let cool completely in the pan.
Place in the fridge to set for at least two hours to set and make for easier cutting. Dust with powdered sugar and cut into 15 bars.
Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 7 days.
Gluten Free - Replace the all purpose flour with 226 grams (scant 1 1/2 cups) organic gluten free flour blend.
High Altitude - For the crust, bake at 325°F for 25 minutes or until golden brown. Bake the lemon bars at 325°F for 30 minutes or until set.