Although Sheila’s Lemon Bars hold a very special place in the hearts of our family and friends, sometimes I want to create something just a bit more complex. By adding coconut to the shortbread crust, it gives a lovely new quality to the original. Topped with an extra thick layer of the lemony custard, they become more of a dessert instead of a snack.
Makes one 9” x 13” pan
1 c flour
½ c sifted icing sugar
½ c butter, cold, cut into 1” cubes
1 c sweetened shredded coconut
6 eggs (room temperature)
2¼ c sugar
¾ c freshly squeezed lemon juice, from 3-4 lemons
1 ½ t baking powder
¼ t salt
Icing sugar to dust
Preheat oven to 350°F
Line a 9 x 13 pan with parchment. Fold to fit the width, and leave a bit of length at each end. When the squares are cooled, you’ll be able to lift them out for cutting.
In the bowl of a processor, mix the flour, and icing sugar.
Pulse in the butter until no piece is larger than a pea. Or, whisk together the flour and sugar in a bowl, and cut in the butter.
Put the flour, sugar & butter mixture into the prepared pan.
Add in the coconut, and combine well with your fingers.
Press the mixture to create a crust in a level layer in the pan.
Bake in the preheated oven for 15 minutes. It will just be starting to turn golden around the edges.
While it is baking, mix the filling.
In the bowl of the processor, add in the eggs & lemon juice. Process until fully mixed.
Add in the sugar and process.
Add in the flour, baking powder & salt, process until smooth.
(Or, whisk together the eggs and lemon juice in a bowl, and then whisk in the sugar, flour, baking powder & salt until smooth.)
Take the crust from the oven, and reduce the temperature to 325°.
Gently pour the filling mixture over hot baked crust.
Return to the oven and cook for another 30-35 minutes until set. Test by jiggling the pan. It should be slightly golden.
Cool on a rack, and then cover and chill for a couple of hours until serving. Do ahead up to 2 days.
To cut, slide a knife down the unpapered sides of the pan, and then gently lift the bars out by using the extra parchment paper handles, and move the bars to a level cutting surface.
Cut into 2” squares, and then dust with icing sugar using a sieve. Hold the sieve about 10 – 12 inches above the bars so you get a dusting of sugar instead of clumps.