Lemon Pie Bars

If you’re a lemon lover, you’re going to love these lemon pie bars. It’s not your typical cake-like lemon bar, it’s more custard-style, very similar to a key lime pie. It’s made with a graham cracker crust and topped with fresh homemade whipped creme. These little dessert bars are going to go a long way with their pretty presentation and refreshing, lemony sweet taste.

Serve this at BBQs, that special celebration, or add to the menu as the perfect complement to accompany Sunday night dinner. This is a simple, easy to follow and delicious recipe that will be sure to make your summer day, just a little bit brighter.

Prep/bake time: total time, ~1 hour (pie crust & filling: 15 mins; bake time 25-30 mins; whipped creme 5 mins) *let chill in the refrigerator ~ 3-4 hours before topping off with fresh whipped creme

Servings: 9

Author: Mindi Cunningham | sweetbasilandlemon

Ingredients:

Crust:

1 cup graham crackers crushed

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/2 stick melted butter unsalted

Filling:

4 egg yolks

1 cup lemon juice (approximately 5-6 lemons)

2 Tbsp lemon zest for filling

1 cup heavy cream

1 & 1 /2 cup sweetened condensed milk

1 Tbsp granulated sugar

1 tsp vanilla

Topping:

2 Tbsp lemon zest for topping

1 & 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream

1/2 cup confection sugar

1 tsp vanilla

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 300. Combine brown sugar and crushed graham cracker crumbs with melted butter. Then empty contents into an 8×8 baking pan. Use your fingers to press into crumbs and ensure crust is evenly spread across the bottom of the baking pan. Set pan off to the side.

We’ll now create the pie filling. Add all pie filling ingredients into a medium-large mixing bowl. Stir with a whisk or stand/hand mixer until mixture has reached a consistent color and texture. This will be an indication that the ingredients are evenly blended throughout the filling mixture. Next, pour the mixture into the baking pan on top of the graham cracker crust.

Quick note: I didn’t have an extra lemon to create zest for the filling at the moment, and used frozen lime zest which is why you can see tiny flecks of green in my filling.

Set the mixture into the oven on 300 and let bake for about 25-30 minutes. Bake until the middle has set. The filling will jiggle a bit and will not look completely baked; however, at 30 minutes, there should be no sign of excess liquid moving on top or underneath the surface of the pie filling.

Remove the pie at 30 minutes and let cool for 30 minutes at room temperature before placing in the refrigerator for at least 3-4 hours. I have made the filling the day before and have created the topping the day of which works well too. You’ll want to ensure a very firm and chilled filling before attempting to top with creme and slice for serving.

While the pie is chilling in the fridge, place a medium sized glass mixing bowl in the freezer, along with the whisk attachments from the electric hand mixer so they become nice and chilled for later. I usually let them chill for a few hours before making homemade whipped creme. I strongly recommend doing this, as the added level of chill will work for you as you set up the whipped creme later. Additionally, I like to grate my lemon zest for topping and place into a single layer onto a lid or tray, and let freeze for a few hours. This makes it easier for sprinkling on top the whipped creme at the final stages.

When it’s time to make the whipped creme, you’re going to set out the three basic ingredients you’ll need, and at the last moment, remove the chilled bowl and whisk attachments from the freezer. Making homemade fresh whipped creme is so easy and tastes so good. Once you get the hang of making creme at home, you’ll want to make it for other occasions, as an ice cream sundae topper, or to dress up pancakes or french toast, or to simply enjoy with a bowl of fresh berries.

Combine the whipped creme ingredients and start your mixing on the low setting, gradually increasing the speed to medium, then high over 10-20-30 second intervals. Keep beating the whipped creme on high for roughly 2 minutes. I like to keep minimal movement with my whisk attachments to limit splattering but to also prevent over beating or mixing the creme, which will cause the creme to lose its structure and become runny in texture.

You will know when the creme has set up and is finished when you hold the mixer in place, and soft billows of creme start to form around the whisks presenting more and more structure. When you see this, like in the picture shown, shut off hand mixer. Remove the whisks then touch the top of the creme with the whisks. Small stiff peaks should appear, and they should keep their structure and not fold or collapse. This is when you know your creme is ready for use.

Remove the lemon pie bars from the refrigerator. With a spatula, spoon out the fresh creme and layer it all over the pie filling creating a nice thick layer about 1/3-1/2″ in thickness. Be generous! Next, sprinkle the frozen lemon zest over the creme, and garnish with additional creme or lemon slices based on your preference.

You’re ready for the best part, the tasting! Cut the pie into 9 pieces with a sharp knife, and scoop out with a rectangular metal spatula. Now serve yourself or guests a slice and savor the textures and flavors as they’ve come together in this pretty and refreshing dessert!

You can store in fridge with plastic or a lid for several days and it will keep its freshness quite well. However, the first time you make it, I’d serve it the same day to ensure the whipped creme has set up properly. If it has not set up well, over the next day it may start to lose form and will still taste delicious, but not look as fresh for plating and presentation.

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