With all the snow that’s been hitting the east coast lately, some may be doubting if Spring will actually arrive.
To that I say: take this light and fruity recipe as a sign that warmer weather is on the way!
Whether you’re looking for something to wake your taste buds from hibernation, or a quick and easy recipe that will delight guests at your Easter festivities, these lemon bars will work magic. A light and creamy consistency, balanced by a sweet but tart zing of lemon taste, is the ultimate combination for springtime freshness.
My citrus treats will satisfy your dessert desires without weighing on your appetite or your conscience! Delicate yet flavorful, they are perfect for the Candida Diet host.
This recipe is easily doubled or even tripled, and when baked on a large baking sheet, can be divided into a multitude of small, petits fours that make a tidy bite and a pretty party centerpiece to boot!
The secret to the Candida Can-Do magic is the lemon. Lemon is an extremely low-sugar fruit that won’t cost you all your sugar servings for the day, but will deliver a pop of intense fruity lightness – you won’t feel like you’re missing out on anything!
Trust me, one you start eating these babies it is hard to stop.
First things first: prepare the crust.
These proportions make a ¼ inch crust in a 10-inch baking pan. Feel free to alter the amounts, keeping proportions consistent, in order to make more bars, or thicker crust.
You will need:
1 ½ cups almond flour
¼ tsp salt
1 packet truvia (or equivalent stevia sweetener)
4 tbsp salted butter
¼ tsp vanilla
In a large bowl, mix your almond flour, salt, and stevia crystals (I used truvia). You may use as fine a grind of almond flour as you like, smaller particles will give a more cohesive crust with less chew.
Cut your four tablespoons of butter into small cubes and melt them in the microwave. Then add the melted butter and the vanilla directly to the flour mixture. Stir to combine.
Your crust should be a slightly crumbly, greasy dough.
Spoon everything out of the bowl and directly onto the baking pan. Make sure your baking pan has raised sides that will allow for the lemon curd to be poured on top later. Spread the crust dough out across the bottom of the baking pan using your fingers to press it down, taking care to get it into each corner, but not up the sides.
It is crucial that you keep the dough as evenly distributed across the pan as possible. If this means it is thinner than desired, simply shorten your baking time. An even crust is a good crust, and it is better to have a thinner crust than to have an unevenly cooked mess.
Put this in a 350-degree oven for 12 minutes. Make sure you rotate the pan at the half way mark (6 minutes) to ensure even baking. Remove your crust from the oven when it stars to get golden brown at the edges.
Allow your crust to remain in the pan and cool in the open air. Do not turn off your oven, because your lemon custard will be ready in a few minutes, and the whole thing will go right back in.
For the fruity filling you will require:
½ cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
1 tsp fresh grated lemon zest (approx. one whole lemon)
3 tbsp coconut flour
1 ½ tsp liquid stevia
¼ tsp coconut milk (optional)
Crack your eggs into a large bowl and beat them with a whisk until they are uniform in color and consistency. Next, whisk in your lemon juice slowly. After the juice is incorporated, continue to whisk as you add your zest, liquid stevia, and coconut milk.
The coconut milk is such a minute amount in this recipe that it is optional. I happened to have it on hand, and added it in order to prevent the coconut flour from absorbing too much of the liquid in the custard. Coconut flour is highly absorbent, but will be slower to absorb fatty liquids than watery ones. This is why, to counter excessive dryness when baking with coconut flour, you add more fats, not more liquids, to avoid making a dense, springy batter.
Once all your wet ingredients are combined, add your 3 tablespoons of coconut flour. Whisk in the flour completely, then quickly pour your custard into your waiting pan, covering your pre-baked crust.
Put the whole thing in the oven for 20 – 25 minutes, taking care to rotate it at the half time point to ensure even cooking. The custard will bake from the edges inward, so because your pan or custard may be of a different depth than mine, keep an eye on it as it bakes. Reach in occasionally and gently jiggle the pan. When there is no movement from the center of the custard, it is cooked.
When fully baked, remove your pan from the oven.
Do not carve into your bars until they have at least cooled to room temperature, though for best results, I would recommend chilling the entire pan. This will allow the butter in your crust to cool, and your custard to set, resulting in a more cohesive and less crumbly crust, as well as a prettier line when you slice them to serve.
Some of my friends have described these lemon bars as “lemon cheesecake bites”. It is not that they have a cheese flavor, but they do have a creaminess from the coconut flour that makes them appear slightly opaque, and gives them a less gelatinous texture than your typical white sugar lemon bar.
Make no mistake, however, these lemon bars have the real deal tart factor that true lemon fans will be looking for. The fresh juice comes through loud and clear, and the zest brings in that fresh pucker that satisfies.
If you’d like to change these bars into tartlets, simply pre-bake the crust in the bottoms of a cupcake pan, and fill each one individually. There is plenty of room for creativity here!
Serve these to your guests and I guarantee most of them won’t even know they’re dining on a diet for the evening.
It’s the perfect Can-Do camouflage for the Candida socialite!