These beautiful little lemon bars are sure to make you look like a total baking pro.
Better yet, they don’t need any fancy equipment and they only need to bake for a total of 25 minutes (that’s including prebaking the crust)!
Makes: 16 Servings
1 cup graham crackers crumbs (certified gluten free if necessary*, 150 g)
¼ cup granulated sugar (52 g)
Pinch fine sea salt
5 Tablespoons unsalted butter (72 g, melted)
½ cup fresh lemon juice
1 Tablespoon cornstarch
1 large egg yolk
1 10.5 ounce can sweetened condensed milk
Zest of one lemon
⅔ cup fresh blueberries
Preheat the oven to 300 F.
In a medium bowl, combine the graham cracker crumbs, sugar, salt, and melted butter. It should be a sandy consistency.
Line a 9×9 dish with parchment paper. It helps to leave excess parchment paper hanging over the edges – these act as a handle to pull the dessert out later. It also helps to add a bit of fat to the dish before adding the parchment paper (butter or oil) – it holds the parchment paper in place. Add the graham cracker crust mixture to the dish and firmly press into an even layer.
Bake the crust for 10 minutes, then allow to cool while you make the filling.
After removing the crust from the oven, turn the temperature up to 350 F.
In a medium bowl, combine the lemon juice and cornstarch. Mix until the cornstarch is fully dissolved.
Add the sweetened condensed milk and egg yolk, stir until fully incorporated and the mixture is starting to thicken.
Gently fold in the lemon zest and blueberries.
Spread the mixture evenly over the crust, making sure to spread the blueberries out across the crust.
Bake for 15 minutes, or until the center is just set.
Remove from the oven and allow to cool to room temperature before chilling in the refrigerator. Chill for a minimum of one hour, but 2-3 hours is best.
The measurement for the graham cracker crumbs is different depending on whether you buy premade crumbs or crush your own from graham crackers. To reach the 150 g, you’ll need roughly 1 cup of premade graham cracker crumbs or roughly 1 ½ cups if you’re crushing your own crumbs from full graham cracker sheets.
This recipe calls for ½ cup fresh lemon juice, and creates a tart lemon filling. I love it this way and think it balances perfectly with the sweetness of the crust. If you don’t want yours to have a tart flavor, only use ⅓ cup fresh lemon juice. If you’re using Meyer lemons, don’t reduce the amount of lemon juice.
Don’t overcook the blueberries. The short baking time is very important, and you want to get the blueberries out of the oven before they burst. If the blueberries burst it completely changes the aesthetic of the dessert. It will still be delicious, but it will have a much more rustic look.
Along those same lines – if you don’t want any visible blueberry streaks along the edges of this dessert, you have to be careful when cutting the bars. Use a larger knife and press it straight down (rather than dragging it to cut). You’ll also need to wash the knife after each cut (a little tedious, I know, but the end results are beautiful and so worth it).
If you make this gluten free, use certified gluten free graham crackers crumbs and stir in 1 Tablespoon of psyllium husk before adding in the melted butter.