Lemon Bars on Brown Butter Shortbread

29 Jul

Recently I’ve had little time to bake (or do anything else, really) because of a new nursing position I took at a local community clinic. With the new job came more responsibility, more hours, and unfortunately, less time to myself. Luckily, I somehow managed to get scheduled for only a half shift today, and rather than cross off a few of the million things I have on my to-do list, I decided to bake lemon bars!

Oh – but these lemon bars are no ordinary lemon bars! It just happens to be a recipe from my favorite bakery: Tartine. I was able to snag a signed copy of Tartine’s owners Elisabeth Prueitt and Chad Robertson’s book from Omnivore Books in San Francisco (an amazing little bookstore devoted to books about food!) If you have not been to Tartine, please do yourself a favor – find your way to San Francisco and go! Get the morning bun, the banana cream tart, a slice of tres leches cake, a cup of bread pudding, a chocolate croissant, an éclair, and a cup of tea. Yes, get it all (the cup of tea is optional.) Just do it. I promise you’ll enjoy it.

But back to the subject at hand- I think these lemon bars have just the right amount of sweetness and tartness and go perfectly with their buttery shortbread base. I chose to dust them with powdered sugar and garnish them with some candied blood orange zest (recipe to come!).

Lemon Bars on Brown Butter Shortbread Recipe

Adapted from Tartine



  • ½ cup confectioner’s sugar
  • 1 ½ cup all purpose flour
  • ¾ cup unsalted butter, room temperature


  • ½ cup all purpose flour
  • 2 ¼ cups sugar
  • 1 cup + 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • Lemon zest from 1 small lemon
  • 6 large whole eggs
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • Pinch of salt


Crust –

1. Preheat the oven to 350F. Butter a 9×13 inch baking pan.

2. Sift the confectioners’ sugar into a mixing bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment. Add the flour and stir to mix. Add the butter and beat on low speed until a smooth dough forms.

3. Transfer the dough to the buttered pan and press evenly into the bottom. Even out the dough with the flat bottom of a cup. Line the crust with parchment paper and fill with pie weights (I used uncooked rice).

4. Bake the crust until its turns to a deep golden brown, about 25-35 minutes.

5. While the crust is baking, make the filling.


1. Sift the flour into a mixing bowl. Add the sugar and whisk until blended. Add the lemon juice and zest and stir to dissolve the sugar.

2. In a separate mixing bowl, whisk the whole eggs and egg yolk with the salt. Add the eggs to the lemon juice mixture and whisk until well mixed.

3. When the crust is ready, pull out and pour the filling directly into the hot pan. Reduce the oven temperature to 300F and bake just until the center of the custard is no longer wobbly, 30 -40 minutes.

4. Cool completely, then cover and chill well before cutting.

5. Cut into squares and dust with confectioners’ sugar.


One Response to “Lemon Bars on Brown Butter Shortbread”

  1. ScreamingSardine August 3, 2011 at 11:50 pm #

    Oh myyyyyyyyyyyyyy! These look so scrumptious and perfect for summer. Thanks for sharing the recipe. :)

    Tracy Screaming Sardine

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