Make these delicious lemon bars from an easy tray bake recipe.
These lemon bars are lovely. The base is light and crumbly. The upper lemon layer separates on baking into a tangy lemon curd and a sweet meringue top.
I found the original recipe for these lemon bars at allrecipes. However I upped the amount of lemon juice and flour in the lemon layer and added lemon zest.
Ingredients (makes 16-20 lemon bars depending on how big you cut them)
For the pastry base:
- 175 g / 6 oz butter or margarine, cut into small pieces
- 200 g / 7 oz plain flour, sieved
- 75 g / 2.5 oz icing sugar, sieved
For the lemon layer:
- 3 eggs (medium or large)
- 300 g / 10.5 oz caster sugar
- 5 tablespoons lemon juice (this is approx. the juice of two lemons)
- Finely-grated zest of two lemons
- 5 level tablespoons plain flour
- Optional: 1 tbsp icing sugar for dusting
Preheat your oven to 180 degrees C (160 for fan ovens) / 350 degrees F / Gas Mark 5.
Prepare your baking tin. This part is crucial. The top part of the lemon layer will set like meringue, sticking to anything it can. If you don’t prepare your tin properly you’ll have to scrape your lemon bars out!
The original recipe calls for a 23 x 33 cm (9 x 13 inch) tin. My tin measures 24 x 20 x 4 cm (approx. 9.5 x 8 x 2 inches). Line your tin with greaseproof baking paper, making sure it rises above the sides of the tin so none of the lemon layer can escape. Stick the paper to the tray using a little butter or margarine.
Make the pastry by putting the 3 pastry ingredients into a large bowl and using your fingers to rub the dry ingredients into the butter. Keep going until the ingredients come together into a large, slightly sticky doughball. Put the dough into the prepared tin and press and smooth to the edges and into the corners until you have an even layer. The back of a large metal spoon may be useful when trying to do this, but I find using your hands is best.
Bake the pastry base for approx. 20 minutes, until slightly golden.
While the pastry base is baking, make the lemon layer for your lemon bars.
If you have an electric whisk or a mixer with a whisk attachment, I recommend you use it for this part! Put the eggs, sugar, flour and lemon juice into a bowl and whisk until the mixture is a little frothy. I used my mixer with balloon whisk attachment and I had to mix for 3-4 minutes to get the mixture to have the bubbles/small amount of froth on top. Add the lemon zest and stir through gently until evenly distributed.
Take the pastry base from the oven and pour the lemon mixture onto the hot base.
Put back in the oven for 20-25 minutes, until lightly golden.
You can leave the lemon bars to cool completely in the tin if you think there’s no danger of them sticking. Alternatively, pull the edges of the baking paper loose while the lemon bars are still hot, then leave to cool for 10-15 minutes in the tin before moving to a wire rack.
Cut into rectangles and dust with icing sugar. Serve.
Store in an airtight container in a cool, dry place. Best eaten within 4 days (or sooner!).
Looking for some other lemon recipes? Try these!
Lemon sponge layer cake with lemon curd and buttercream filling.
Claire Huston / Art and Soul