Lemon bars are really easy to make and a delight to savour! I make mine with a classic Scottish shortbread base and a fresh lemon curd topping that is a lovely balance of sweet and zing. And it’s quite fast to make too, you will be surprised!
And here I am today sharing Lemon Bars with a shortbread base.
Jeez. I score high on variety, don’t I?? 😉 But I couldn’t resist. On Monday I was moaning about how I could feel that winter was just around the corner which is why I indulged in the winter-comfort Italian Meatball Soup, and yet yesterday when I made these, it was like summer was back and these Lemon Bars were fitting! (It’s Friday today and winter is back. Mr Weatherman, make up your mind!!!)
For me, a key element of these Lemon Bars is the shortbread base. I really love using a classic Scottish shortbread recipe. Because the Scots claim shortbread as theirs, and there’s no denying they know a dang good one!
In my pre-appliance days (read: when I was a poor uni student), I used to make shortbread using my fingers to rub the butter into the dry ingredients. These days, I’m lazy and use my mini food processor. 4 or 5 quick pulses, and it’s done. How easy is that??
Pour the buttery “sand” into the tin, pat down, bake for 15 minutes. While it’s baking, whisk together the very simple lemon curd (eggs, sugar, lemon and flour), pour it in, bake again. Then cool to let it set.
Oh – I forgot to mention: rice flour vs cornflour/cornstarch. The jury is out out on whether classic Scottish shortbread is made using rice flour or cornflour. Rice flour produces a crisper biscuit (but still soft) that crumbles beautifully as shortbread should. In contrast, shortbread made with cornflour is not as crisp but melts in your mouth more.
For this particular recipe, I think that the crisper shortbread is nicer as a contrast to the creamy lemon curd.
The magic of baking and how a few simple steps can transform into something so scrumptious always amazes me. In fact, with the shortbread base, these taste just like lemon meringue pies – minus the meringue top.
I don’t consider myself an expert baker by any means so when I share desserts, they are always pretty safe. Fuss free, zingy and sweet, but not too sweet, these are the type of sweet treats that will please everyone! – Nagi x
- ¾ cup plain flour (all purpose flour)
- ¼ cup rice flour (or cornstarch/cornflour) (Note 1)
- ½ cup icing sugar / confectioner's sugar
- ¼ tsp salt
- 110g / 1 stick butter (cold), cut into 1cm / ½" cubes
- 3 large eggs or 4 small eggs
- 1½ cups caster sugar / super fine sugar
- 3 tbsp plain flour (all purpose flour)
- 1 tbsp lemon zest (do this before juicing)
- 6 tbsp lemon juice (2 - 3 lemons)
- Preheat oven to 180C/350F. Spray a 20cm/9" square tin with oil and line with baking/parchment paper with overhang (so it can be lifted out once cooked).
- Place Shortbread Base ingredients in a food processor and pulse a few times until crumbs form - see photo. (Note 2) Pour into prepared tin and press evenly and firmly into the base.
- Bake for 12 minutes or until light golden. Remove from oven.
- While the base is baking, place Lemon Topping ingredients in a bowl and whisk until combined.
- Pour Lemon Topping onto the Shortbread Base. Bake for 18 - 20 minutes until the topping is set and light golden.
- Remove from oven and cool. Transfer to fridge and cool for 2 hours before slicing into 16 squares. Dust with icing sugar (confectionary sugar) and serve.
2. If you don't have a food processor, you can use your fingers to "rub" the butter into the dry ingredients and you'll end up with the same crumbs that you see in the photos.
Nutrition per serving i.e. 1 slice of the 16 bars this recipe makes.
Dozer….in disbelief that none of these Lemon Bars came his way….