Lemon bars

by | Mar 26, 2021 | Desserts

The recipe of these delicious lemon bars is from my grandmother’s cookbook and it’s more than 60 years old. Lemon bars are one of the best desserts that will certainly bring a smile to your face. The filling is a soft lemon-butter cream between 2 double layered shortbread crust. The crust consists of 4 layers, which are glued with apricot jam.

Lemon bars
Lemon bars – photo: zserbo.com


For the dough:

  • 500 g (~4 cups) flour
  • 150 g (~5 1/3 oz) lard
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 100 g (~3/4 cup) powdered sugar
  • 15 g (~1 1/3 tbsp) baking powder
  • 5-6 heaping tbsp sour cream
  • zest of a half lemon
  • 6-8 tbsp apricot jam

For the filling:

  • 4 tbsp flour
  • 300 ml (~1 1/4 cups) milk
  • 2 tbsp powdered sugar
  • 150 g (~5 1/3 oz) butter
  • 150 g (~1 cup+2 tbsp) powdered sugar
  • zest of a half lemon
  • juice of a medium lemon

First make the floury base of the filling. In a saucepan mix together flour, 2 tablespoons of powdered sugar and milk. Cook until it thickens (stir continuously). Set aside and let it cool completely.

In a bowl rub lard into the flour. Add egg yolks, lemon zest, baking powder, powdered sugar and sour cream, and knead until smooth and pliable. Divide the dough into 4 equal parts and form balls.

Preheat the oven to 180°C / 356°F. Grease two 30×30 cm / 11×11″ baking pans.

On a floured surface roll out a dough ball into a thin square. Roll it up on your rolling pin and transfer in the prepared baking pan. Spread apricot jam evenly on top of the dough. Roll out another piece of dough into a square of the same size and place it on top of the first layer. Prick it with a fork and bake for 15 minutes.

While the first crust is baking, prepare the other layer too by repeating the process above.

When the two jam filled crusts are done, let them cool completely.

Cream softened butter and 150 grams (~1 cup+2 tbsp) of powdered sugar until the mixture is light and fluffy. Add creamed butter to the cooked floury cream and mix together. Add lemon zest and lemon juice and mix until well combined. (Add lemon juice in batches to the cream in order to prevent it from being too runny; the filling needs to have an intense citrus flavour, but it also has to be thick enough so that it won’t run.)

Place a cake layer in a clean baking pan. Spread the lemon filling evenly on the top, then cover it with the other cake layer. Chill for 3-4 hours. Feel free to dust the lemon bars with powdered sugar before serving.

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Hungarian cottage cheese

This is what Hungarian túró looks like

You often ask me what kind of cottage cheese (or curd cheese or farmer's cheese - call it what you want) I use in the recipes. In Hungary the store-bought cottage cheese is dry and crumbly as you can see in the picture. So if a recipe calls for túró, I mean this type. If you can't obtain túró, you can try to make your own from whole milk. Click on the link below.

Metric system vs cup

In Hungary metric units are in use, all the recipes on this website are based on this system, so a kitchen scale is necessary. Since I’m not familiar with cup as a measurement unit, I convert grams to cups by using an online converter. The values in brackets, therefore, are only approximate volumes, so, please, double-check them before you start cooking.

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