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recipes: perfect lime shortbread bars

Post: March 8, 2022

These easy homemade lime bars are the perfect ratio of shortbread crust to lime filling! And for everyone who’s super busy – these are the PERFECT make ahead dessert. They’re like the awesome little brother to the classic lemon bars (do some people call those lemon squares too?). The lime curd is luscious, buttery, tart, bright and smooth. The vanilla shortbread is so delicious and wonderfully offsets the bite of lime from the filling. It’s not too soft or not too firm (we’re looking for a crust that won’t crack or won’t get mushy). And with the sprinkling of powdered sugar – the entire lime bar is perfectly tart, sweet and smooth. And these are so easy to eat and store (they’re like the cousin to a blondie or brownie).

I know, I know – these are lime bars but there’s lemon in it. It’s to help balance the tartness. It’s worth it, I promise!

Lime holds a special place in my heart because it’s used in a lot of Asian and South East Asian cookie. I’ve developed quite a few lime recipes”

· Toasted lime meringue cake

· Lime curd

· Lime curd pavlova

· Lime meringue tart

Click here for the full video step by step:

Most asked questions:

· I don’t like lime; is there another filling I could use? Yes! I have an amazing lemon curd recipe that would be stellar! It’s a little less tart.

· How many people does this dessert serve? You can cut the squares in 9-12.

· What pairs well with lime bars? I normally go for no added fruit with this dessert! But, the fruit toppings that pair with citrus are endless. My favorite options are:

· Marionberries, blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, strawberries

· Dragon fruit

· Kiwi

· Mango

· Passionfruit

· Oranges, grapefruit

· Stone Fruit: cherries, peaches, plums, apricots, nectarines

Prep time: 30 minutes

Cook time: 38 minutes

Servings: 9-12 squares


Lime filling

· 5 large egg yolks

· 1 large eggs

· Granulated sugar 1 cup (200 grams)

· Confectioners’ sugar 3 tablespoons

· Fresh juice 3/4 cup (use 1 lemon and make the difference lime juice) (90 ml)

· Cornstarch 1/4 cup (30 grams)

· Pink salt 1 pinch

· Cold, unsalted butter 8 tablespoons (120 grams or 1/2 cup or 1 stick)

o for a dairy free version, I love the Country Crock plant-based butter stick

Shortbread crust (recipe adapted from King Arthur Flour)

· All-purpose flour 1 cup (150 grams)

· Confectioner’s sugar, plus some for dusting ¼ cup (30 grams)

· Cold, unsalted butter 8 tablespoons (180 grams or 1 sticks)

· Pink salt 1 teaspoon


· 8x8 baking pan

· heat proof bowl


Step 1 – line your baking pan. I recommend using an 8x8 inch square baking pan. If you use a different size, the ratio of lime filling to crust will be different than what I think is perfect/ ideal. This will be helpful for keeping the squares “pretty”.

· Tip: This is best demonstrated in my video, but I use extra parchment and clips to more easily lift the dessert for transfer – I think of these as handles. I do this for my sheet cakes too!

How to make shortbread crust:

Step 2 – prepping dough for baking pan. Preheat your oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Whisk or sifted the flour, powdered sugar and salt. I incorporate the butter and evenly blend it with my hands. The mixture will be crumbly.

Step 3 – distributing dough into baking pan. Distribute crust over the bottom of the lined pan, ungreased cake pan, and press it evenly across. If it feels like the crust is starting to melt into your hands – pop this into the freezer for 10 minutes and continue to press into the pan. Use a fork to perforate the dough to help release air during the baking process (I didn’t do this in the video but ensures more success).

· Tip: A tart press helps!

Step 4 – baking the crust. Bake in the oven at 325 degrees Fahrenheit for 25-30 minutes or until the crust is lightly brown. I cook on a baking tray for the most even heat distribution. Let cool.

How to make my lime curd filling:

Step 5 – juicing lime. To get more juice from your lime, and make it easier to squeeze, press down on the lime and roll it around before juicing. Place a sheet of paper towel on your cutting board to absorb that aromatic (but slippery!) lime oil that is release when you roll out the lime.

  • Tip: Place a sheet of paper towel on your cutting board to absorb that aromatic (but slippery!) lime oil that is released when you cut this fruit.

  • Tip: To get more juice from your lime, and make it easier to squeeze, press down on the lime and roll it around before juicing

  • Tip: Use fresh citrus juice. Go for fresh lime and lemon juice rather than bottled – the flavor is very different, and the fresh lemon juice will make these bars SO much better.

Step 6 – prepping the curd. While the crust is baking, I like to prep the filling. Combine the eggs and sugars and whisk. Add the powdered sugar and salt. Then gradually add and whisk the lime juice. This is optional but add in green color paste if you’d like your lime bars to be green. Let the filling sit for 15 minutes so most of the bubbles dissipate.

  • Tip: It’s easiest to separate eggs when they’re cold.

  • Tip: Use very fresh eggs. I’m not sure why but this guarantees a firmer (and of course tastier) curd filling.

  • Tip: There was still foam so I just removed it with a spoon.

How to assemble the lime curd bars:

Step 7 – the oven should still be on 325 degrees F. Pour the lime curd filling on top of the crust while it’s still hot and bake for 30 minutes or until it is somewhat set in the center. Remove from the oven and cool for 15-20 minutes on the counter. Pop in the fridge until cold and firm for 3 hours or overnight. They should be completely cooled before cutting into them.

· Tip: Don’t put this immediately in the fridge – it will cause the lime bar to crack.

Step 8 – finishing touches. Before serving, dust with powdered sugar to keep it fresh.

· Tip: For easy removal, run a thin knife or spatula along the sides after your lime bars are very thoroughly chilled. There should be no issue with cutting (but it helps to use a warmed knife).

· Tip: These will last a week if you keep them covered in the fridge (if you can make them last that long!).

Easy lime bar recipe success!!


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