There is just something about lemon flavored desserts. I don’t know whether it’s their bright yellow hue, or their tart flavor that makes you pucker – but they’ve always been a favorite of mine. My great aunt always made a really good lemon bar, and these definitely reminded me of them. But with wonderful tropical flavor from the addition of toasted coconut on top instead of powdered sugar.
A basic bar dough is pressed into the bottom of the pan, then it’s filled with a rich fresh lemon curd and topped with a combination of almonds and coconut. The almonds give it wonderful crunch that was great next to the softness of the lemon filling.
I happened to have some of the larger dried coconut shreds, so I used those and they really held up well here. I’d suggest looking for those if you can find them. I’m usually able to find them in natural food stores, or if you’re feeling ambitious – make your own!
Tropical Lemon Curd Bars
For the curd:
3/4 cup sugar
1 tbsp lemon zest
3/4 cup lemon juice
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, into cubes
3 egg yolks
For the crust and topping:
1 cup butter (2 sticks), softened
1 cup sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
2/3 cup coconut flakes
1/2 cup sliced almonds, toasted
To make the curd, whisk the sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice and butter cubes in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Once butter is melted, whisk in egg yolks, one at a time, incorporating thoroughly. Whisk constantly until the mixture thickens and bubbles start to come to the surface; about 15 minutes.
Once the curd is thick and starting to boil, remove the pan from the heat, and let the curd cool slightly in the refrigerator until ready to use.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Combine flour and baking soda; gradually add to creamed mixture and mix well.
Set aside 1 cup of mixture for the topping; press remaining mixture onto the bottom of a lightly greased 13×9″ baking dish. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until edges are lightly browned. Cool for 10 minutes.
Spread lemon curd over crust. In a small bowl, combine the coconut, toasted almonds and reserved topping mixture and sprinkle over lemon curd.
Bake for an additional 20 minutes or so until golden brown. Cool completely on a wire rack and cut into bars. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.