These Meyer lemon bars have a sweet and tangy lemon curd layer over a soft, melt-in-the-mouth shortbread base.
Homemade lemon bars are a citrus lover’s dream and these Meyer lemon bars are no exception. The zesty lemon topping is tart but also sweet, refreshing and beautifully bright. The base is a soft shortbread that melts in the mouth. It is the perfect vessel to carry the lemon layer.
Meyer Lemon Bars
This easy lemon squares recipe use Meyer lemons, which are actually a cross between lemon and orange. It means this lemon variety is sweeter than other varieties. As this recipe uses a large quantity of fresh lemon juice, the sweetness of the meyer lemon helps to balance out the tartness.
If you prefer a more zingy bar, you could use other lemon varieties such as eureka, Lisbon or yen ben. Or, use a mixture of fresh orange juice along with a tarter lemon, or change it completely and use grapefruit instead!
If making substitutions, avoid using pure orange juice as this won't have enough flavor or acidity to cut through the sugar. It needs lemon alongside it to balance it out.
The best lemon bar recipe is made with a lot of lemon. It doesn’t have the word lemon in the title for nothing. For most people who love citrus, this isn’t a bad thing.
However, as there is such a concentrated amount of lemon juice used in lemon bars, it can sometimes result in a bitter or metallic taste for certain people with sensitive taste buds. It is often thought that the culprit is using metal saucepans or utensils when making the lemon curd but this isn’t always the case and the aftertaste can still be present even when using non-reactive plastic, glass or silicone.
How To Make Lemon Bars - The Base
The base layer is made from a shortbread style mixture. Cold butter is rubbed into flour along with some lemon zest, sugar and salt. It creates a crumbly, sandy mixture.
This mixture is pressed into a 8 x 8 inch ( 20 x 20 cm) parchment paper lined pan or baking tin. It doesn't make a cohesive dough, but the butter in the mixture will allow you to press it firmly down into the tin.
Then it goes in the oven for 20 minutes until just baked.
The Curd Layer
The lemon layer is essentially a lemon curd, made with lemons, eggs, sugar and a little flour for stability. It doesn't need any pre-cooking, it simply is whisked together, then poured over the baked shortbread layer.
Whisk the flour and the sugar together first to get ride of any lumps. Then add the eggs and lemon.
The slice is then baked again until the lemon layer has set. Slightly shaking the pan will show if it has set or not. There shouldn’t be a wobble in the curd.
Once baked, cool the lemon squares to room temperature, then refrigerate for at least an hour before slicing. Confectioner’s sugar can be dusted over the top at the time of serving.
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- 200g all-purpose flour
- 50g granulated sugar
- 1 Tbsp lemon zest
- ¼ tsp salt
- 180g cold butter, cubed
- 200g granulated sugar
- 30g all-purpose flour
- 4 large eggs
- 1 Tbsp lemon zest
- pinch of salt
- 120ml fresh Meyer lemon juice
- Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C) regular oven, or 320°F (160°C) fan-bake.
- In a bowl or in a food processsor, add the flour, sugar, lemon zest and cubed butter. Cut the butter into the flour until it resembles coarse bread crumbs.
- Line a 8 x 8 inch ( 20 x 20 cm) baking tray with parchment paper, then press this crumbly mixture firmly into the tray. Bake it for approximatly 22 minutes until lightly browned and just baked through.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour and the sugar for the lemon layer until well combined. Add in the eggs, lemon zest, lemon juice and salt and whisk until smooth. Pour the mixture of the baked base and place it back in the oven.
- Bake for a further 20 minutes until the lemon layer has set. Giving the pan a little shake should see that there is no real wobble left to the lemon layer.
- Once baked, cool the lemon squares to room temperature, then refrigerate for at least an hour before slicing. Confectioner’s sugar can be dusted over the top at the time of serving.
For a tarter slice, use eureka or lisbon lemons.
Grapefruit can be used instead of the lemon to make grapefruit bars.
Oranges can also be used, though use half lemon and half orange juice to balance out the sweetness and flavor.
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Amount Per Serving: Calories: 222Total Fat: 10gSaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 71mgSodium: 136mgCarbohydrates: 29gFiber: 1gSugar: 18gProtein: 3g