Lemon Raspberry Bars with Shortbread Crust
The last few days have been filled with cold medicine, kleenex, and binge-watching Netflix. I don’t know how they do it, but our favourite shows seem to always know when we’re feeling run down and they all come back at once to make us feel better. Lately, Trevor and I have been enjoying the last season of Girls (sob), the mid-season return of Last Man on Earth and the newest season of Love. Cooking has been pretty minimal due to lack of energy, so I’ve been making a point to clean out the freezer and eat all the leftovers. It’s times like these that I’m grateful for batch cooking.
The recipe I’m sharing today was taken from my Grandma’s handwritten notebook – Lemon Raspberry Bars with Shortbread Crust. It’s one that takes me back to the simple summer days of picking fresh raspberries from the bushes that grew in my grandparents’ backyard. Late last summer before the house was sold to a new family, we stopped by one last time and I wandered barefoot through the backyard to soak in every last detail. The clothesline where my Grandma would hang the laundry to dry in the cool summer breeze. The wooden planter hanging off the back of the deck that I once ran straight into and gave myself a golf-ball sized goose-egg bump on my forehead. The open grassy area that gave us kids room to run through the sprinkler during the summer and then climb 10-foot high piles of snow in the winter. And the bushes behind the shed that grew raspberries, delicious in a bowl with milk and a pinch of sugar, but more importantly the base for my Grandma’s famous homemade jam.
On that last day in my grandparents’ yard, with my shoes and socks in hand, I made my way clumsy to those raspberry bushes, picked a couple of the remaining berries and popped them into my mouth. They were sweeter and more wonderful than I ever expected late season raspberries would taste – probably because deep down I knew that this was the last time I would eat them from this particular garden.
If you don’t have access to fresh from the garden raspberries, these bars are still quite delicious when made with their grocery store counterparts. Although I expected these bars to be very sweet, the combination of lemon and raspberries were quite tart and the soft custard-like filling was a nice contrast to the crisp shortbread crust. The recipe made a lot of bars (a full 8×13 pan), so I sliced them and took the rest to work where they received rave reviews from my co-workers. It’s worth noting that this dessert is best enjoyed after the bars have cooled and had a chance to firm up in the fridge, as the filling will be soft at room temperature.
Lemon Raspberry Bars with Shortbread Crust
- 1/2 cup butter/margarine
- 1/2 cup powdered icing sugar
- 1/4 cup corn starch
- 1/4 cup corn meal
- 1 1/4 cup flour
- 4 eggs
- 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
- 2 tsp grated lemon rind
- Pinch of salt
- 1 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/3 cup flour
- 1/3 cup whipping cream
- 1 cup slightly chopped raspberries
- Preheat your oven to 350*F. Lightly spray an 8×13 baking pan with non-stick spray.
- Using a stand mixer or handheld beaters, cream together butter/margarine and icing sugar until light and fluffy. Mix in corn starch, corn meal and flour until the mixture is crumbly. Press the shortbread mixture into the baking pan, making sure than 1-inch edge is formed around the sides.
- Bake the shortbread crust for 20 minutes until golden brown. Remove from the oven and let cool.
- To make the filling, beat together eggs, lemon juice, lemon rind, salt, sugar. Add flour, whipping cream and raspberries. Pour the lemon raspberry mixture into the cooled crust and bake for an additional 25-30 minutes until the filling is firm and set. Remove from oven and let cool.
- Optional – once cooled, dust with more icing sugar. Slice into squares and store in an air-tight container in the fridge.
These bars are best enjoyed cold and straight from the fridge. If you can plan ahead, make these bars the night before and store in the fridge overnight. Slice before serving.
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What a tasty treat, Jessica! I would love to try these bars!
I love bars with shortbread crust! So versatile and delicious. Thanks for sharing!