Strawberry Lemonade Bars

I had the idea for these on a particularly cold day last winter when I was daydreaming about all of the summer desserts I was going to make once the world warmed back up. I wanted something that was fresh and fun and super pretty, so I immediately went to lemon curd and strawberries! It turns out that you can make a curd out of just about any fruit juice so this was a really fun experiment that came out so well.

It all starts with a shortbread base. This is my go-to shortbread and it comes out perfectly every time! This one works best if there’s small sides so that you can really fill the bars up with that delicious curd. To make sure they stick around after baking, don’t skip popping the shortbread into the freezer before baking. This hardens the butter and keeps it from melting too quickly in the oven, allowing the rest of the tart to set before the sides slouch down.

From there, it’s time for some curds! You could technically make both curds at teh same time, but I highly suggest doing one at a time. The curd should be stirred constantly while it’s cooking so that the egg doesn’t cook and create lumps. You may see a few of those, but they’ll be strained out so not to worry. If the curd isn’t thick enough it won’t stand up well in the bars, so keep that in mind. It may take a while to make, but be patient and resist the urge to turn up the heat to speed up the process.

If you wanted to make this even easier, you could use store bought curd! Any flavors will work, do whatever sounds good to you. You could also make other flavors, just use any fruit juice in place of the strawberry juice in the strawberry curd recipe. You need the acid from the lemon juice though, so be sure to keep that and you should be in good shape.

Finally, it all comes together! Everything should be cooled before assembling, so you could absolutely make all of the components the day before, or even a couple of days before, and then assemble day of. Just put spoonfuls of curd on the prepared base, swirl it until it looks beautiful, and devour!

Strawberry Lemonade Bars
Yield: 8 servings

Strawberry Lemonade Bars

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes

These Strawberry Lemonade Bars are the perfect summer treat! A buttery shortbread base is topped with swirls of lemon and strawberry curds. You can make your own, recipes below, or use store bought for a quicker version. It's so fun and so delicious!

Ingredients

for the shortbread base

  • 85 g (6 Tbsp) butter, softened
  • 45 g sugar
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 123 g flour

for the lemon curd (or use store bought!)

  • 115 g (1/2 cup) freshly squeezed lemon juice, from 2-3 lemons
  • zest from 2 lemons
  • 100 g (1/2 cup) sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 3 eggs
  • 57 g (4 Tbsp) butter, in pieces

for the strawberry curd (or use store bought!)

  • 300 g strawberries
  • juice from 1 lemon
  • 100 g (1/2 cup) sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 3 eggs
  • 57 g (4 Tbsp) butter, in pieces

Instructions

  1. prep: preheat the oven to 325*. line a loaf pan with a piece of parchment paper so it hangs over the two long sides of the pan. spray with nonstick spray and set aside
  2. make the shortbread base: cream the butter and sugar in a mixer at medium high speed for 3-5 minutes until light and fluffy. add the salt and vanilla and mix to combine. add the flour and mix on low until the mixture just comes together in large clumps
  3. turn out the shortbread into the prepared pan and press down, pushing some slightly up the sides to create small sides. place in the freezer for 10-15 minutes, then bake for 20-23 minutes until slightly browned on the edges and pulling away from the sides. let cool completely
  4. make the lemon curd: in a medium pot, combine the sugar and lemon zest. use your fingers to massage the lemon zest into the sugar to bring out all of the flavor. add the lemon juice, salt, and eggs and mix to combine. add the butter and place over low heat, stirring continuously, until the butter melts and the mixture thickens. this could take up to 20 minutes but be patient!
  5. once the lemon curd is thick enough that when you pull a spatula across the bottom the line of where the curd comes back together is clearly visible, remove from the heat and pass through a fine mesh sieve. store in an airtight container in the fridge.
  6. make the strawberry juice: place the strawberries in a blender or food processor. blend on low speed until fully blended, then strain through a fine mesh sieve
  7. make the strawberry curd: in a medium pot, combine the sugar, strawberry juice, the lemon juice, salt, and eggs. mix to combine. add the butter and place over low heat, stirring continuously, until the butter melts and the mixture thickens. this could take up to 20 minutes but be patient!
  8. once the strawberry curd is thick enough that when you pull a spatula across the bottom the line of where the curd comes back together is clearly visible, remove from the heat and pass through a fine mesh sieve. store in an airtight container in the fridge.
  9. assemble the bars: using fully cooled base and curds, place spoonfuls of the curds on top of the base. use a butter knife or offset spatula to create swirls of the two curds
  10. enjoy! cut into bars and enjoy! store in an airtight container for up to 5 days.

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