These lemon mochi bars are a twist on the traditional lemon bars. Instead of cornstarch or wheat flour, the lemon topping uses rice flour, which gives this bar a chewy feel. The bottom of the bar is my Perfect sweet tart crust, which is buttery and crispy. Top it with powdered sugar and you've got a tangy lemon bar with a great chewy texture on top with a crispy crust beneath.
So I've been on a mochi kick lately. We grabbed about 7 boxes of Mochiko flour on our last run to the Asian grocery and I've been using it for all kinds of desserts. We also are landscaping our backyard, which now has some lovely lemon trees. So introducing my newest concoction!
So far we've bought a Meyer lemon, which creates these beautifully orange lemons that are slightly sweet. We also have a varigated Lisbon lemon. The flavor is just like the lemons you see in the produce department, but these lemons are striped and have pink flesh on the insides. It's just a gorgeous tree. I've used both standard lemons and Meyer lemons for this recipe, so just use what you can find.
Meyer lemons will produce a slightly less tangy bar, so you'll need to adjust the recipe a tad, which I've detailed below.
Now these bars require rice flour instead of wheat flour, and this changes the texture of the bar. When cooked, rice flour gets this sticky texture that I think is perfect for lemon bars. Too often I've eaten lemon bars that had fragile lemon layers, or overly cakey. Rice flour does none of these things. It acts like a glue to hold it together, but in a very tender manner. So what you get is a sticky bar when you bite into it, but an amazingly stable bar too.
The bottom of this bar is my Perfect sweet tart crust, which is just butter, sugar, salt, flour, egg yolk and milk thrown into a mixing bowl. It's super easy to handle and press into the bottom of the pan. It offers a salty, crispy and buttery crust to contrast with the chewy and gooey lemon topping.
This has replaced my favorite lemon bar recipe, which is Ina Garten's recipe. If you're looking for a good old fashioned lemon bar recipe, that's a great one. It does make a ton of bars though, so you better be ready for a whole tray of them.
The method to make my lemon mochi bars follows the traditional method in that you bake the bottom crust first, then pour the topping on to bake fully. This allows the bottom to cook at a higher temperature, which is optimal for a nice crispy crust. Then the oven temperature is lowered so you can bake the lemon filling on top at a gentler temperature.
Here is the video if you want to give it a try, which I hope you do!
1. Preheat your oven to 375 with a rack in the lower third portion. Line an 8x8 pan with parchment paper.
2. Make the tart dough according to the instructions. Instead of placing the dough in plastic wrap, pour the dough into your prepared pan. Using slightly damp hands, press the tart dough into the bottom of the pan, covering the entire surface. Chill in the freezer for 5 minutes.
3. Bake the tart dough for 15-20 minutes, or until the entire crust is a nice golden brown color.
4. While the tart is baking, make the lemon filling. To a large mixing bowl add eggs, sugar, lemon juice, lemon zest, unsalted butter, a pinch of salt if you like, and rice flour. Whisk until completely combined. (If you are using Meyer lemons, which have a slightly sweeter juice, remove 2TB of sugar from the recipe. All other lemon varieties will have a higher acid content and so will require 1 1/4 cups of sugar to offset the tartness.)
5. Remove the tart from the oven and reduce the heat to 350. Pour in your prepared lemon filling and bake for 30-35 minutes. The edges will be golden brown and the center will not jiggle but be a tad bit soft. This is normal.
6. Let the bars cool completely before removing. Lift the parchment out of the pan and place the bars onto a serving tray. Cut into squares and dust with powdered sugar.