Saturday, 23 June 2018

Pink Lemonade Squares on a Coconut Crust

I came across a different kind of lemon the other day; the rind is striped pink, green and yellow and the inside is pink. Very interesting, and of course I had to buy some to try. I thought they would be slightly sweeter for some reason, but other than the colours, they taste exactly the same as plain old yellow lemons!

The first thing I thought of making with them was a pink lemon bar, with a coconut crust, as I knew there was a tiny bit of coconut sitting in the pantry. I also had a tiny bit of whipping cream, which I added for richness and extra creaminess.

When mixing the filling ingredients I realised that the yolks from the eggs would overpower the pale pink lemon juice and the bars wouldn't look any different than if I had used yellow lemons.

I chose to add a few drops of red food colouring, which is not something I do often, as I am not a fan of adding colour to food, preferring to go along with the natural colours of the fruit and vegetables. I made an exception here, because I really wanted these to be 'Pink Lemonade Squares'. I am glad I did, because the little bit of red that I added gave a slight pink tinge to the filling, kind of like the flesh of the lemons.

These are quite tart and refreshing, despite having what I would refer to as a lot of sugar. They are also a lot richer than they first seem, thanks to the butter and whipping cream.

Turn the oven on to 350F and line an 8" X 8" pan with foil, lightly greasing the foil.

To make the coconut crust, combine the dry ingredients in a large bowl:

1 cup flour
3 tablespoons coconut
1/4 cup sugar


4 ounces butter, melted and cooled
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Mix until combined.

Press evenly on the bottom of the prepared pan.

Bake at 350F until set and starting to colour slightly around the edges, about 12 - 15 minutes.

Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.

Turn the oven temperature down to 325F.

To make the filling, whisk together the following in a heavy bottomed pan:

1 cup sugar
6 tablespoons whipping cream
6 eggs
3 ounces butter, cubed
Grated zest of half a lemon

Whisk in the lemon juice:

3/4 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice

Place the pot onto the stove,on a low heat, and stir continuously until the butter has melted.

Increase the heat to medium low, and cook, whisking constantly, until the filling has thickened enough to leave a trail when whisked,  the texture of a thick custard.

Immediately remove from the heat.

Whisk in:

2 drops of red food colouring

Strain the filling to remove the zest.

Pour the filling onto the cooled crust, spreading evenly.

Bake until the filling is set in the centre, and bubbling a bit around the outside, about 20 - 25 minutes.

Remove from the oven and cool to room temperature. Refrigerate until completely cold before cutting.

To serve, gently lift the foil from the pan, peel it back from the sides of the bar and cut into squares. I like to trim the outside edges off, and then cut it into 9 squares. Keep the bar refrigerated until ready to serve.

  • This is the same crust recipe as I used in the post Chocolate, Pecan and Dried Cherry Squares. I omitted the cocoa and used coconut instead.
  • For the filling any citrus fruit can be used...lemons, limes, grapefruit, oranges, blood oranges or a combination of any of them.
  • The filling can be cooked in a double boiler, if you are more comfortable doing it that way. Cooking directly on to stove can lead to scrambled egg if you are not very diligent with whisking and keeping the temperature low. It's all about patience.
  • I like to strain the filling once it comes off the stove for 2 reasons: removing the zest gives the filling a silkier texture, and straining removes any bits of egg white that may have cooked. The more careful you are with the whisking and temperature the less likely it is that this will happen.
  • If you have fresh passionfruit, the pulp can be used in combination with the lemon juice. In this instance I like to leave the seeds in though, as they are a feature of the passionfruit, and are edible.
  • Pour the filling into a tart shell and make a lemon tart. Serve with whipped cream, or sprinkle the surface of the tart with sugar and broil, or use a blow torch, to caramelize the sugar and turn this into a burnt lemon tart.
  • Another option for ther squares or tart, is to turn it into a lemon meringue. This is a great way to use any extra or frozen egg whites. Make a meringue using 1 part egg whites : 2 parts sugar. Pipe or spoon onto each portion, and broil or use a blowtorch to quickly cook the meringue. Serve immediately.

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