Lemon Pistachio Bars

  • Serves: Makes one 8 x 8-inch pan
  • Baking Temp (degrees F): 350
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  • Comments: 0

The combination of lemon and pistachio is a Spring treat. These bars are different than the traditional lemon square, in that the lemon layer is thinner, in relation to the crust. You can use Meyer Lemons, if preferred, which are sweeter and have a gentler tang. Meyer lemon, is a citrus fruit native to China thought to be a cross between a true lemon and either a mandarin or common orange. Using ugly or bruised lemons are perfect for this recipe. For more information, go to our Ugly Produce is Beautiful Educational Campaign.

Pistachio Crust
3/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour; spoon into measuring cup and level to rim
1/2 cup shelled pistachios
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt

7 tablespoons (3/4 stick plus 1 tablespoon) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/4 teaspoon pistachio or almond extract

Lemon Filling
1 cup sugar
3 large eggs
Grated zest of 2 lemons, preferably Meyer lemons
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice, preferably from Meyer lemons
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt

Zest the lemons with a microplane or a fine grater. Do not get the white, bitter pith of the lemon.


1. Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

2. Lightly butter an 8 X 8-inch baking pan.

3. Make a foil sling for the bars in the pan:
Pleat a 14-inch-long piece of nonstick aluminum foil or parchment paper lengthwise to make an 8-inch-wide strip.
Fit into a pan like a sling, letting the excess hang over the ends to act as "handles."

Dust the buttered sides of the pan with flour and tap out the excess.

4. To make the crust, process the flour, pistachios, powdered sugar, and salt in a food processor fitted with the metal chopping blade until the pistachios are very finely ground, about 30 seconds.

5. Add the butter and pistachio extract and pulse until the mixture begins to clump together.

6. Transfer the crust dough to the pan.
Dampen hands; it is easier to pat the crust in the pan with dampened hands in the next step.
Press it firmly and evenly into the bottom of the pan. 

7. Bake until the crust is set and lightly browned around the edges, 12 to 15 minutes. Set the pan on a wire cake rack to cool while you prepare the lemon topping.
Do not turn off the oven.

1. To make the lemon filling, whisk together the sugar, eggs, lemon zest and juice, baking powder, and salt until well blended.

2. Pour the filling into the crust.

3. Bake until the filling is set and golden brown, 20 to 25 minutes.
Transfer to a wire cake rack and cool completely.

4. Place the cooled bars in the fridge for 1 hour, before cutting out the squares. 
NOTE: The bars will cut better when they are chilled.

1. Pull up on the foil handles to remove the pasty in one piece.

2. Cutting off the edges will make for a neater looking bar, but that is optional.
Also, a warm knife will make cleaner cuts! Dip the knife in hot water before each cut, then wipe the knife on a cloth to absorb the excess water.

3. Cut into 9 evenly sized pieces.

4. Dust with powdered sugar and serve.

The squares can be made up to 2 days ahead, covered and refrigerated.

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