Lemon Cream Pie Bars
Lemon Cream Pie Bars

Lemon Cream Pie Bars

Recipe by: Willow Bird Baking, using Lemon Curd from Fine Cooking
Yield: 20 tall bars

These bars are a BRIGHT burst of sunshine! The lemon flavor isn’t the knock-you-out sort, but a sweet, smooth punch in a bed of whipped cream. You’re gonna love these!

Crust Ingredients:
1 cup (2 sticks) butter (I use Plugrá Butter)
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup powdered sugar

Lemon Curd Filling Ingredients:
6 tablespoons butter, softened at room temperature (I use Plugrá Butter)
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
2 large egg yolks
2/3 cup fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1 teaspoon gelatin
2 tablespoons cold water
4 cups whipping cream
1/2 teaspoon lemon extract
6-8 drops yellow food coloring (optional)
2 tablespoons powdered sugar

Topping Ingredients:
2 cups heavy whipping cream
1 tablespoon cold water
1 teaspoon gelatin
5-6 tablespoons icing sugar
grated lemon zest (for topping, optional)
fresh raspberries (for serving, optional)

Make shortbread crust: Preheat your oven to 350°F. Prepare a 9 x 13 in. baking dish by lining it with parchment paper. Cut the butter into the flour and icing sugar and press into the baking dish (I used a food processor to cut the fat into the flour — about 6-10 pulses — and then the bottom of a glass to press the mixture into the pan). Bake 18-20 minutes or until light brown. Set on a wire rack.

Make the lemon curd: Cream butter and sugar together until pale, fluffy yellow (2-3 minutes). Slowly beat in eggs and yolks and then the lemon juice. The mixture will look curdled, but don’t worry. Pour it into a heavy saucepan and heat over low heat, stirring constantly, until the butter melts and the mixture smooths out and no longer looks curdled. Turn heat up to medium and stir constantly until the mixture thickens and reaches 170 degrees F on a candy thermometer (about 10-15 minutes). When you run your finger across the back of a wooden spoon used for stirring, it should leave a clear streak in the curd. Stir in the lemon zest.

Pour the curd into a shallow bowl and press plastic wrap directly on the surface of the curd. Chill in the fridge until cold. It’ll thicken more as it cools.

Make the lemon cream: Make sure your curd is totally cool before beginning this step. In a bowl, sprinkle the gelatin over the 2 tablespoons cold water to soften for 2 minutes. Heat for 15 or so seconds in the microwave, whisking to dissolve the gelatin. Whip 4 cups heavy cream to stiff peaks, adding the gelatin, lemon extract, food coloring, and powdered sugar halfway through. Stir in about 1/3 of the cream into the lemon curd to lighten it, and then gently fold in the curd into the rest of the cream. Pour the mixture over the cooled shortbread crust and spread evenly. Chill in the fridge until set.

Make the whipped cream: In a bowl, sprinkle the gelatin over the tablespoon of cold water to soften for 2 minutes. Heat for 15 or so seconds in the microwave, whisking to dissolve the gelatin. Whip the 2 cups cream to stiff peaks, adding the powdered sugar and gelatin halfway through mixing. Dollop the whipped cream over the lemon cream and gently spread it around. Zest a lemon over the top for garnish. Chill, remove from pan, slice into bars, and enjoy with fresh raspberries, if desired.

29 Comments on Lemon Cream Pie Bars

  1. Carol
    March 17, 2014 at 1:51 am (7 years ago)

    I laughed out loud reading the story! Thanks for that, and thanks for what looks like a very promising recipe. I love baking with Plugra butter, also. I’m thinking a Meyer Lemon version of this sounds interesting…

  2. Anita Menon
    March 17, 2014 at 5:05 am (7 years ago)

    such a sweet sweet story. I got so engrossed in this post that it took me away to my school memories.
    Lovely treat..!

  3. Katie
    March 17, 2014 at 12:39 pm (7 years ago)

    I’m usually not a huge citrus/lemon bar fan, but these look simply amazing! I love your photos as well it really makes you crave a lemon bar.

  4. Rebecca....again....LOL!
    March 17, 2014 at 12:45 pm (7 years ago)

    I just HAD to examine this fluffy lemon deliciousness on my BIG computer screen! I have a springform 13×9 pan that is just begging for this. I MUST make this ASAP…and seeing the raspberries nestled in that cloud are making my mouth water. I printed a copy to share with my big sister, too! Thanks for ALL your great posts! I don’t post too often…but when I do, I’m obsessive 😉 Your site always inspires me! It may be barely 20 degrees out, but this turns my focus to spring. Thanks again!

  5. Jenny @ BAKE
    March 17, 2014 at 1:26 pm (7 years ago)

    that is such a sweet story, and what a lovely teacher you had to keep your egos intact! These bars look absolutely delicious, just what we need to bring us in to spring!

  6. dina
    March 17, 2014 at 8:19 pm (7 years ago)

    it looks so lovely!

  7. susan
    March 17, 2014 at 8:24 pm (7 years ago)

    Beautiful! This is just the perfect way to top off a nice summer dinner. Can’t wait to try these!

  8. cheri
    March 17, 2014 at 10:25 pm (7 years ago)

    What a sweet post, a lemon cream bar, looks amazing!

  9. Pam
    March 18, 2014 at 8:00 am (7 years ago)

    What is icing sugar?

    • Julie Ruble
      March 18, 2014 at 8:40 am (7 years ago)

      Powdered sugar. Meant to change that to the more widely used name. I’ll fix it now 🙂

  10. laurie @crunchygooey
    March 18, 2014 at 9:00 am (7 years ago)

    I was so worried there’d be sweetened condensed milk in these – not that there’s anything WRONG with that but it kind of feels like cheating. Also enjoyed the story – first grade girls are so full of awesomeness! Can’t wait to try this dessert.

  11. Tracy | Peanut Butter and Onion
    March 19, 2014 at 8:34 am (7 years ago)

    I love anything lemon. Love that you transformed the pie into a bar… it means you can eat more right?

  12. Kathi @ Deliciously Yum!
    March 19, 2014 at 12:24 pm (7 years ago)

    I love a good pucker and these lemon bars look to die for! What a great idea to turn a pie into bars – seriously such a genius idea 🙂

  13. Alex
    March 22, 2014 at 8:27 pm (7 years ago)

    Interesting story – I enjoyed it. I’m a little surprised you didn’t know who cat woman was though? lol This is the first recipe I came across that was dedicated to St Patrick’s day, and wasn’t something green. 10 out of 10 for originality. They look delicious 🙂

  14. Lama
    May 8, 2014 at 10:26 am (7 years ago)

    This looks amazing but where do we add the lemon zest in the lemon curd?!

    • Julie Ruble
      May 8, 2014 at 11:02 am (7 years ago)

      Thanks Lama. Add it in just before chilling the curd.

  15. Maureen
    April 22, 2016 at 11:47 am (5 years ago)

    Looks so yummy! Have you ever frozen any leftovers?

    • Julie Ruble
      April 22, 2016 at 3:53 pm (5 years ago)

      Thanks! I haven’t — I feel like it wouldn’t thaw nicely due to all the whipping cream.

  16. Patsy hotard
    February 8, 2017 at 8:21 pm (4 years ago)

    Salted or unsalted butter??.

    • Julie Ruble
      February 9, 2017 at 1:36 am (4 years ago)

      The general rule is that it’s always unsalted unless otherwise specified.

  17. annabelle rose
    April 24, 2017 at 12:39 am (4 years ago)

    Hi! can I ask you as to the purpose of whipping the butter sugar mixture until fluffy etc in the lemon curd step? I have always just made curds straight on stove never whipped in a mixer as step 1. Just wondering what the reason here is, what difference does it offer or is it just your own way of making lemon curd? you find out new things every day. Will be trying this treat soon. My lemon tree is crazy and we have an excess of cream. ????


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