Gluten-Free Lemon Bars with an Almond Crust
Natalie of Good Girl Style is back today to share a really lovely sweet for Mother’s Day–eternal classic, Lemon Bars, gone gluten-free. Natalie joins us each month to share incredible desserts with Big Girls, Small Kitchen readers–desserts that are entirely gluten-free, but not like obviously gluten-free. That means no specialty flours or hard-to-find ingredients, just good old-fashioned butter, sugar, chocolate, cream, and rich, creamy peanut butter. Don’t miss her most recent posts, about Strawberry Mousse and Peanut Butter Eggs.
Oh, lemon. It’s one of my favorite dessert flavors, which puts lemon bars at the top of the list, too.
This version is even more delicious because the almond crust holds its own against the filling and offers a wonderful texture switch from gooey to crunchy. Using an already cooked lemon curd instead of a liquid filling that bakes fully in the oven allows the crust to remain crisp and the filling to remain firm. Re-baking the lemon curd firms it up, though, creating a smooth and cheerful bright-yellow filling.
Though this recipe takes a bit of effort, the resulting treats are perfect to bring to a baby shower or Mother’s Day brunch.
Lemon Bars with Almond Crust
Adapted from The Nourishing Home
Makes 16 small squares
For the almond crust:
1 cup almonds (blanched or unblanched), ground to a fine powder in a blender or food processor (be careful not to over-process or you’ll end up with almond butter!)
2 tablespoons butter, melted
2 tablespoons sugar
For the lemon curd filling:
6 egg yolks
½ cup sugar
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice (plan on about 2-3 lemons)
Zest from one lemon
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
Confectioners’ sugar, for serving
Make the crust: Mix the ground almonds, melted butter, and sugar together in a small bowl. Pour into an 8-by-8-inch square pan (or 8 1/2-inch round) lined with parchment paper. Use the back of the spoon to spread and press the mixture together to cover the bottom of the pan. Bake at 350°F for 8 to 10 minutes, until just beginning to look golden and dry. Let cool. Turn oven down to 300°F.
Make the filling: In a large heatproof metal or glass bowl, whisk the egg yolks, sugar, lemon juice, and lemon zest together. Place on top of a pot of simmering water and add the butter a few pieces at a time until melted and combined, stirring frequently. Continue to cook over the simmering water for an additional 10 to 12 minutes, stirring frequently, until thick and coating the back of the spoon. Remove from heat and strain into a shallow bowl to remove any curdled egg bits and keep the filling smooth. Allow to cool to room temperature. Spread the lemon curd filling over the crust and bake at 300°F for 18 to 20 minutes, until the filling is set. Let cool to room temperature, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours before cutting. Dust with powdered sugar if desired.