Can you believe it’s August already? To me, August means the “dog days of summer” have arrived. We now need a refreshing treat more than ever. I know you may not want to turn your oven on, but trust me, these Lemon Meringue Bars are worth it. A cross between lemon bars and lemon meringue pie, this treat really hits the spot.
Lemon Meringue Bars
from King Arthur Flour
1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1/2 cup sugar
3 large egg yolks (save the whites for the topping)
1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk
grated rind (zest) from 2 lemons
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
3 large egg whites (from above)
1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup sugar
What To Do
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a 9″ x 13″ pan; line the pan with parchment paper or foil, with the edges of the paper going up the sides.
To make the crust: Whisk together the flour, salt, and baking powder in a small bowl. In a larger bowl, beat together the butter and sugar. Mix in half the dry ingredients, then add the egg yolks. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl, then add the remaining dry ingredients, mixing just until the dough comes together.
Pat the mixture into the prepared pan. Bake for 15 minutes, until light golden brown. Remove from the oven.
To make the filling: Combine the condensed milk, lemon zest, and lemon juice, stirring until blended. The mixture will thicken slightly. Spread it on the cooled crust and set aside.
To make the topping: In a clean bowl with clean beaters or whisk, beat the egg whites with the lemon juice until foamy. With the mixer running, add the sugar gradually and beat until thick, and the whites hold a medium peak.
Spread or pipe the meringue over the filling, and return the bars to the oven to bake for another 15 minutes, until the meringue is golden brown. Remove from the oven and cool on a rack for 20 minutes.
After 20 minutes, loosen the ends of the bars from the pan, and use the parchment or foil to lift the whole recipe straight up out of the pan onto a cutting surface. Now the bars will be much easier to cut into squares.
I made this in stages and it worked out really well. I made the crust one day. The next day made the filling and kept it in the fridge. The next day I made the meringue and assembled everything and baked.
When patting the crust dough into the pan, I found it worked a lot better if my hands were wet. That kept the dough from sticking to my hands.
For the topping, I spread the meringue on top with an offset spatula. Then I used the back of a spoon to make little peaks all over by lowering the back of the spoon onto the meringue then lifting up quickly.
Some Photos Along the Way
Get ready to pucker up for this refreshing summer dessert. Lemony goodness all around. Have a great weekend!