These lemon raspberry bars are the perfect twist on traditional lemon bars. They have a delicious shortbread crust and a layer of tangy lemon raspberry custard.
The idea for these lemon raspberry bars came after making classic lemon bars last week. I got curious about what other variations I could make, and since I love raspberry lemonade, adding raspberries seemed like the obvious first choice. They have a thick, buttery shortbread base layer. Then the lemon raspberry layer is tangy, sweet and infused with raspberry puree.
The flavor is definitely lemon infused with raspberry, as opposed to raspberry with a hint of lemon. The raspberries give these bars a beautiful dark pink color, and the flavor reminds me of sunshine.
The Perfect Lemon Raspberry Bars
For the Shortbread Base
You’ll start by making the shortbread base. It’s a delicious buttery shortbread, and most importantly, it’s not too sweet. Because the lemon raspberry layer is sweet on its own, I didn’t want the base to be a sugar overload. You’ll press the dough into the bottom of your pan, and then it will bake on its own for about 20 minutes, or until it looks set on the top and lightly golden around the edges. This step is important – otherwise, it will be raw and doughy.
Pro Tip: To avoid the raspberry layer seeping around the edges of the base and making it soggy, you can create a little ledge around the edges of the base. When pressing the dough into the bottom of the pan before baking, press it slightly up the sides of the pan too (about ⅓ inch or a little under a cm is enough). Then after the base is done baking, gently prick the top with a fork. This helps to “stick” the lemon raspberry layer to the base.
For the Tangy Lemon Raspberry Filling
The filling is very similar to the filling in my lemon bar recipe, but with a few changes:
- reducing the lemon juice slightly
- adding raspberry puree
- slightly reducing the sugar, since raspberries will add sweetness too
You’ll first puree the raspberries in a blender or food processor. Then optionally, pour and push the puree through a metal sieve to remove the seeds. Removing the seeds isn’t 100% necessary, but I prefer the texture without seeds. Then you’ll boil down the puree to remove excess liquid. This step is absolutely necessary, otherwise, there will be too much liquid in the filling and it won’t set properly. You can see the raspberry puree before and after it’s been boiled down in the photo below.
After you’ve boiled down the raspberry puree until it’s thick, making the filling is very simple. Whisk together the eggs, sugar, corn starch, thickened raspberry puree and lemon juice. Then it gets poured over the baked shortbread crust, and pop it back in the oven to bake.
Pro Tip: Make the raspberry puree first. Puree the berries, remove the seeds and boil it down. Then make the shortbread crust as it cools down. As the shortbread base is baking, you’ll whisk together the ingredients for the filling.
After the bars are baked, you’ll need to cool them fully then chill in the fridge. This is important so that the bars set properly. Therefore, I typically make them either the morning I plan to serve or even the night before. They keep really well and taste delicious cold from the fridge.
You can serve with a sprinkle of powdered sugar, or with a dollop of whipped cream. Either is delicious.
Love lemon and berry desserts? Here’s some other favorites to try:
- Lemon Raspberry Cupcakes
- Classic Lemon Bars
- Lemon Blueberry Muffins
- Lemon Blueberry Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting
Lemon Raspberry Bars
- 9x13 inch (23x33 cm) bars
- 2 cup raspberries (250 grams) fresh or frozen
- 2 ¼ cup all-purpose flour (281 grams)
- ½ cup granulated sugar (100 grams)
- 1 tablespoon corn starch
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup unsalted butter (226 grams) melted
Lemon Raspberry Layer
- 1 ½ cups granulated sugar (300 grams)
- ⅓ cup corn starch (40 grams)
- 6 large eggs
- ¼ cup reduced strawberry puree (60 ml) (reduced from 2 cups raspberries - see step 1 in the recipe below)
- ¾ cup lemon juice* (180 ml) freshly squeezed
- Add the raspberries to a blender or food processor and pulse until smooth.
- Pour the puree into a metal sifter a little at a time and push the puree through the sifter to remove the seeds. (This is optional, but recommended).
- Add the seedless puree to a small saucepan over low-medium heat. Gently boil down the puree to remove the excess liquid. It should be much thicker, and you should end up with about ¼ - ⅓ cup. This will take about 15-20 minutes.
- Remove from the heat and let cool as you make the base.
- Preheat the oven to 325F (160C) degrees. Line a 9x13 inch (23x33 cm) baking pan with parchment paper, leaving an overhang around the edges.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cornstarch and salt.
- Stir in the melted butter. The mixture should be quite thick.
- Press the dough into the bottom of the prepared pan. Create a slight lip around the edge of the pan.
- Bake in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes, or until the top looks set and slightly golden. As it's baking - make the filling.
- Remove from the oven once done baking. Gently prick the very top of the shortbread using a fork. Do not prick all the way down to the very bottom of the pan.
Lemon Raspberry Layer
- While the shortbread base is baking, make the top layer.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the sugar and cornstarch to remove any lumps.
- Then whisk in the eggs, followed by the cooled ¼ cup of reduced raspberry puree.
- Carefully, whisk in the lemon juice. The mixture will be quite liquidy.
- Pour the lemon raspberry mixture over the baked shortbread base.
- Bake in the oven (stillat 325F/160C) for 20-25 minutes, or until the top looks set.
- Remove from the oven. Cool the bars in the pan for at least 1 hour or until room temperature. Then cover the pan and place in the fridge to chill for at least 2 hours.
- When ready to slice, lift the bars out of the pan using the overhang of the parchment paper from the long sides of the pan.
- Place the bars on a cutting board and slice with a sharp knife. For clean cuts, whipe off the knife after each cut. Store bars in the fridge.
- Fresh or frozen berries will work. Frozen berries will take longer to boil down since they have more liquid.
- This recipe can be halved and made in an 8x8 inch (20x20 cm) square bakin pan. The baking times will be about the same, or a a minute or 2 less.
- Do not use lemon juice from a bottle. It is too sour for baking with.
- Nutrition information is an estimate only and based on 1 bar, assuming the pan is sliced into 18 equal pices.
- Store bars in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.