Introducing Meyer lemon bars with rosemary browned butter shortbread crust… A deliciously sweet, tangy, and savory dessert made with fresh organically grown Meyer lemons, rosemary, and organic white whole wheat shortbread.
We’re fortunate to be able to grow different varieties of fruit in our garden every month of the year. What about fall and winter?
Citrus. Lots and lots of citrus. Even though we live in Ag Zone 7b, we grow about a dozen varieties of citrus in containers, so we can bring them under protection when temperatures get too cold.
One of the most productive and versatile citrus varieties we grow is Meyer lemons.
Meyer lemon fruit ripens to a deep yellow verging on light orange. By late December, the fruit is so sweet you can nearly eat it like an orange.
Meyer lemon skin also makes an amazingly flavorful zest.
We use Meyer lemons to make countless food and drink recipes during the cold months, including a few go-to desserts.
Best Meyer lemon dessert recipe
Perhaps our favorite Meyer lemon dessert recipe is Meyer lemon bars with rosemary browned butter shortbread crust. We’ve been perfecting this recipe for a few years and think we’ve now got it nailed.
We love this recipe for three reasons:
- It’s not too sweet and really shows off the flavor of fresh Meyer lemons.
- It brings in the wonderful savory flavor of rosemary (which should be growing in every garden where climate allows).
- It’s made with organic white whole wheat flour instead of white flour. (Which tastes, cooks, and looks almost identical to standard white flour.)
For the record, our typical post-dinner dessert is usually fresh whole fruit. We don’t encourage people to make a regular habit of eating desserts with extra sugar added, but every now and then it’s good to have a homemade indulgence.
This recipe is relatively healthy and will knock your socks off in the flavor department – especially if you love the flavor of lemons.
Recipe Process Photos
Here are a few process photos to help you get this recipe just right:
Recipe: Meyer lemon bars with rosemary browned butter shortbread crust
Meyer lemon bars with rosemary browned butter shortbread crust
A delicious lemon bar made with fresh Meyer lemons, lemon zest, rosemary, and whole wheat browned butter crust. Perfect flavor combination of sweet, sour, salty, and savory.
For lemon filling
- 5 Meyer lemons juice of 5 lemons (1 1/2 cups) + zest of 2 lemons (1/8 cup)
- 1 1/4 cup organic cane sugar
- 1/3 cup organic white whole wheat flour
- 3 tsp tapioca flour or corn starch (to thicken) same quantity regardless of which one you use
- 6 eggs ducks eggs best, or jumbo chicken eggs
For shortbread crust
- 1 cup organic grass butter
- 4 Tbsp fresh chopped rosemary
- 1 1/2 cups organic white whole wheat flour
- 2/3 cup organic cane sugar
- 1 tsp pink sea salt
Start by making the rosemary browned butter. Place butter in small pan on low heat (2-3 on our stove). Your goal is NOT to burn the butter, but to slowly brown the butter fats/solids. Stir every few minutes. Once butter takes on a brown hue, add chopped rosemary, stir for a few seconds, then immediately remove from heat. Leaving the rosemary on the heat for too long will burn out much of the flavor. Cool butter until solid in the fridge or more quickly using the ice bath method pictured in article above.
Preheat oven to 350F. Line 8x11x2 glass or ceramic baking dish with parchment paper with extra hanging over lips (see photo in article above). Or just use a generously buttered baking dish if you prefer.
Add solid/cooled rosemary browned butter to flour, sugar, and salt in separate mixing bowl. Smash together until all ingredients mixed and there is a crumbly consistency. A pastry knife works best for this - but you can also help bring the ingredients together with your hands. See pictures in above section for desired consistency. Pour crumbly crust mixture on to surface of parchment paper in baking dish and smash down with hands until an even surface is formed.
Pre-bake the crust FIRST before adding lemon topping and performing final baking. Bake crust for ~30-35 minutes until crust is getting some golden brown hues. Remove from oven when done (you'll immediately pour on filling when crust is cooked.)
While shortbread crust is baking, zest and juice lemons. Set aside 1/2 cup lemon juice in bowl to whisk in starch and flour to ensure they don't clump. After whisking, this will basically be an evenly mixed paste that you'll add back to the rest of the lemon juice and whisk again. Then add sugar and zest and whisk again. In a separate bowl, whisk eggs until evenly beaten. Then add the eggs to the Meyer lemon mixture and whisk vigorously again. You'll want to give the mixture one more vigorous whisking just before pouring it onto hot pre-baked shortbread crust.
Pour lemon filling over pre-baked crust, then return to oven. Turn temperature down to 300F, and bake for about 35-45 minutes or until filling is firm in the center.
Cool on rack, then refrigerate before serving for best consistency.
More helpful articles for citrus-lovers:
- How to grow citrus in pots in any climate zone
- Tyrant Farms’ potted citrus garden tour (Zone 7b)
- Recipe: Blood orange bars with sage brown butter shortbread
- Easiest way to zest lemons, oranges, and other citrus
- Recipe: fresh guava and Meyer lemon ice cream
- Recipe: calamondin marmalade with baby ginger
- Buddha’s hand citron: make tea, candy, and simple syrup from the same recipe
- How to grow and make lemon blossom tea