The Ultimate Lemon Bar

A lemony dessert with a shortbread crust, it's a simple but elegant treat that can be served as is or with a bit of powdered sugar sprinkled on top.

The Ultimate Lemon Bar

Photo by flour_arrangements

  • Prep Time


  • Total Time


  • Servings



  • Shortbread Base:

  • 10

    tsp Unsalted butter (1¼ sticks), chilled

  • 2

    tsp Powdered sugar

  • 2

    tsp Granulated sugar

  • cup Bleached all-purpose flour

  • Lemon Curd Topping:

  • 4

    Large Egg Yolks

  • ¾

    cup Sugar

  • 3

    ounces Lemon juice (about 2½ lemons)

  • 4

    tsp Unsalted butter (Softened)

  • Pinch of Salt

  • 2

    tsp Lemon zest (finely grated)

  • 2

    tsp Powdered sugar for dusting


Shortbread Base: 1. In a medium bowl, whisk together the sugars, in a large bowl, cream the butter with the sugars until light and fluffy. With your fingers, mix in the flour until incorporated. 2. Preheat oven to 350°F. Place oven rack in the middle of the oven. 3. Pat the dough into the prepared pan. Use a fork to prick the dough all over. 4. Bake for about 30 to 40 minutes or until the edges are lightly browned and the top is pale golden (do not brown). While the shortbread is baking, prepare the Lemon Curd Topping. Lemon Curd Topping: 1. Have a strainer, suspended over a bowl, ready near the range. 2. In a heavy non-corrodible saucepan, beat the egg yolks and sugar with a wooden spoon until well blended. Stir in the lemon juice, butter, and salt, Cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, for about 6 minutes, until thickened and resembling hollandaise sauce, which thickly coats a wooden spoon but is still liquid enough to pour. (A candy thermometer will read 196°F. whenever steaming occurs, remove the pan briefly from the heat, stirring constantly to prevent boiling.) 3. When the curd has thickened, poor it at once into the strainer. Press it with the back of spoon until only the coarse residue remains. Discard the residue. Stir in the lemon zest. When the shortbread is baked, remove it from the oven, lower the temperature to 300°F, pour the lemon curd on top of the shortbread, and return it to the oven for 10 minutes. 4. Cool the lemon curd-topped shortbread completely in the pan on a wire rack. Refrigenate the pan for 30 minute to set the lemon curd completely before cutting into bars. Place the powdered sugar in a strainer and tap the strainer with a spoon to sprinkle a thick, even coating, entirely covering the lemon. 5. Run a small metal spatula between the sides of the pan and the pastry on the 2 sides without the aluminum foil. Use the foil to lift out the lemon curd-covered shortbread onto a cutting surface. Use a long, sharp knife to cut the shortbread first in thirds, then in half the other way, and then each half in thirds. Wipe the blade after each cut.


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