Even though the citrus season usually runs through the winter months, there is something undeniably spring and summer-like about lemon bars. With their bold flavour and bright and sunny colour to match, citrus dessert enthusiasts fawn over lemon bars time and time again.
This version is made with a toasty graham cracker crumb base instead of the more typical shortbread and Meyer lemons instead of regular lemons for a few unexpected upgrades. Meyer lemons, at a glance, may look like slightly smaller and darker coloured regular lemons, but if you delve in deeper, you will find that there are a few key things that set this unique citrus apart. Firstly the tartness of a Meyer lemon is much more subtle than that of the instantly mouth-puckering lemon. It's a bit sweeter in nature, which makes sense when you consider that it is very much thought to be a cross between a lemon and mandarin orange. Another noticeable difference is the deeper yellow, almost pale orange colour of the skin, which also has a much thinner rind than regular lemons. If you cannot find Meyer lemons, use regular lemons; just make sure to cut back on the amount by about 25 per cent to account for the difference in acidity levels.
Meyer Lemon Bars 4 Steps
Prepare the graham cracker base. In a mixing bowl, combine the graham cracker crumbs, brown sugar and melted butter. Mix until even and transfer to a parchment paper-lined 9x13 inch baking sheet. Spread evenly and press down firmly with either an offset metal spatula or the base of a measuring cup to create as compact and flat of a base as possible. Bake in a preheated 375°F oven for 10 minutes and remove when done.
While the crust is baking, prepare the filling. Zest and juice the Meyer lemons, you should have anywhere between 3/4-1 full cup of juice and a few tablespoons of zest, set approximately 3 tablespoons of the juice aside. In a heavy bottomed pot combine the rest of the lemon juice, lemon zest, eggs, granulated sugar, vanilla extract and whisk well. Begin cooking this mixture on medium to medium-high heat while whisking very regularly for about 8-10 minutes. You will see the mixture get thick and glossy over time, make sure to remove the pot from the heat before it ever comes to a boil.
Once it has thickened to the point of being able to lightly coat the back of a spoon, remove it from the heat. Mix the reserved 3 tablespoons of lemon juice with the gelatin, add this mixture to the pot and whisk to combine.
While continuing to whisk vigorously or using a handheld immersion blender to emulsify, begin adding in the room temperature butter a few knobs at a time until finished. Pour this entire mixture over the baked and still warm graham cracker base. Allow to cool at room temperature for about 30 minutes before chilling in the fridge for 2 hours. Remove from the fridge and cut into desired bars or squares, dust with powdered sugar to finish.