Looking for an easy, yet impressive dessert? Look no further! These Brûléed Meyer Lemon Bars from my first cookbook are just what you need!
Table of contents
Brûléed Meyer Lemon Bars
Packed with the juice of Meyer lemons and a bit of zest, these creamy, tangy lemon bars are bursting with fresh lemon flavor. I think my favorite part of these brûléed Meyer lemon bars is that they’re so quick and easy to make.
Instead of making a proper curd, these have a simple mix poured over the crust that bakes up and gets curd-like, which means you are all ready to go the moment the crust is ready. Plus the brûléed top is just the icing (or caramel) on top! If you don’t have a kitchen torch, or if you just prefer it, dust with powdered sugar for a more traditional finish.
Ingredients for Brûléed Meyer Lemon Bars
This brûléed Meyer lemon bar recipe really doesn’t require any fancy ingredients; here’s what you’ll need:
- Sugar: You’ll use it in the crust, the filling, and for the brûléed topping!
- All-purpose flour: Mainly for the crust, but you’ll also use a tiny amount in the filling to help it thicken up nicely as it bakes.
- Salt: Desserts made without salt can taste a lil plain, so don’t forget it!
- Butter: The one and only. You’ll need ½ cup (113 grams) for the crust.
- Vanilla: Just a tiny bit for our crust; if you don’t have any vanilla, it’s not the end of the world if you leave it out of this recipe.
- Large eggs: You’ll need 4 large eggs; this is what helps the filling bake up curd-like.
- Meyer lemons: Meyer lemons don’t have the same tang as regular lemons. Instead, they’re much sweeter and their zest has an almost spice-like quality to it. Meyer lemon season usually begins in late November and ends by March; but fear not! If you can’t find Meyer lemons, just use the same amount of regular lemon juice; the recipe will still turn out delicious!
How to Make Brûléed Meyer Lemon Bars
There are three main components to these brûléed Meyer lemon bars.
The Shortbread Crust
To make the buttery shortbread crust, start by melting your butter. While the butter melts, you’ll whisk together granulated sugar, light brown sugar, flour, and salt. Once your butter is fully melted, add it along with a dash of vanilla to the dry ingredients and stir with a spatula until it’s fully combined and you have a cohesive dough. Then you’re ready to press it into your prepared pan! Once firmly pressed in, you’ll par-bake at 350°F (180°C) for 15 minutes; this ensures a stable bottom rather than a crust that is too crumbly and falls apart.
The Meyer Lemon Filling
The filling is the easiest part to make honestly. In a large bowl, you’ll whisk together the eggs and granulated sugar until well combined and thick. Then you’ll add the flour, lemon juice, and lemon zest and whisk until combined and ta-da, you’re done. You’ll just pour it onto the warm crust when it finishes par-baking and then bake for 25 minutes until the filling is *just* set.
The Brûléed Topping
My favorite part of these lemon bars is adding the brûléed topping. Just before serving, you’ll sprinkle the surface with a little sugar and use a kitchen torch to caramelize the sugar and form a brittle crust.
How to Serve & Store Brûléed Meyer Lemon Bars
Serving: These brûléed Meyer lemon bars need an hour or two to fully cool down, however, you can serve them chilled or at room temperature. To get them to room temperature after chilling, just let them stand at room temperature for 30 minutes before serving. Note: Don’t add the brûléed topping until you’re ready to serve the lemon bars. If you do it ahead of time, you run the risk of it going soggy and then you won’t have that iconic ‘breakable’ caramel top.
Storage: Non-brûléed leftovers should be stored in an airtight container and kept in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Leftovers can also be individually wrapped in plastic wrap surrounded by tin foil and then be frozen for up to 3 months; thaw in the fridge or on the counter before adding the brûléed topping and serving.
Brûléed Meyer Lemon Bars Recipe Troubleshooting & FAQ
Do these brûléed Meyer lemon bars need to be refrigerated?
Refrigeration is essential to achieve the perfect set with lemon bars because the filling is not stabilized by gelatin. Refrigeration keeps the filling cold, which keeps the bars firm so that you can slice and serve them easily without the filling oozing.
Can I substitute a different type of citrus fruit for the lemons?
Absolutely! Brûléed grapefruit bars, anyone?! You shouldn’t have to adjust the sugar in the filling really; the recipe as written doesn’t yield overly sweet bars. Just make sure you use freshly squeezed fruit juice (and not something that’s bottled).
Help! My lemon bars have a weird, thick texture! What did I do wrong?
It sounds like you overbaked your lemon bars! The center of the lemon bars should still wobble when you remove it from the oven; it will continue to cook as it cools on the counter. If you leave it in the oven until it’s completely firm, it’ll be overbaked by the time it’s cool and ready to eat.
Help! My lemon bars are runny! What did I do wrong?
Usually, that just means that you need to bake your lemon bars a little longer. If your bars seem to brown at the edges, you can cover them with aluminum foil and turn down the heat. The bars should be set at the edges and jiggly (without being runny) in the middle. They will set fully as they cool in the pan.
Brûléed Meyer Lemon Bars
For the Shortbread Crust:
- 50 g granulated sugar
- 55 g light brown sugar
- 150 g all-purpose flour
- ¼ tsp fine sea salt
- 113 g unsalted butter melted
- ½ tsp vanilla extract
For the Filling:
- 4 large eggs (approx. 200g)
- 150 g granulated sugar
- 40 g all-purpose flour
- 160 g Meyer lemon juice approx. 4-5 lemons
- 1½ tbsp Meyer lemon zest approx. 2 lemons
For the Brûléed Topping:
- granulated sugar for topping
To Make the Shortbread Crust:
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Grease an 8 x 8–inch (20 x 20–cm) pan with butter or nonstick cooking spray and then line the pan with parchment paper, leaving an overhang on all sides. Grease the parchment with butter or nonstick cooking spray and then set it aside.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the granulated sugar, light brown sugar, flour, and salt. Slowly add the melted butter and vanilla to the flour mixture, stirring with a fork until combined. Press the mixture into the bottom of the prepared pan.
- Bake for 15 minutes, until puffed and lightly golden.
To Make the Filling:
- In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs and granulated sugar until well combined and thick. Add the flour, lemon juice, and lemon zest; whisk until combined, then pour it onto the warm crust.
- Bake for 25 minutes, until the center is just set. Remove the bars from the oven and allow them to cool completely in the pan.
- Once cool, run a knife around the edges of the pan to remove the lemon bars and then slice them into squares.
To Make the Brûléed Topping:
- Just before serving, generously sprinkle each lemon bar square with granulated sugar. Use a kitchen torch to caramelize the sugar until it is amber or golden brown.
- Allow the bars to rest a few minutes so the sugar can harden and crisp before serving. Cover and store leftover lemon bars in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
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