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Lemon and raspberry bars

Dessert Summer
Makes 15 bars
Prep 25 min
Cook 1 hr 15 min
Chill 4 hr

Dotting these bars with halved raspberries before baking gives them a dramatic appearance, but the berries do tend to weep into the curd the longer they sit, so I suggest doing this only if you are serving them on the day (and remember, they need four hours to chill). If you make the bars a day ahead, leave the raspberries out until the end and top the lemon bars just before serving.


130g plain flour
60g icing sugar, plus extra for dusting
¼ tsp flaked sea salt
2 tsp lemon zest
1½ tbsp lemon thyme leaves, roughly chopped, plus extra sprigs to garnish
120g unsalted butter, fridge-cold, cut into 1cm cubes
40g flaked almonds, toasted
3 large eggs
6 egg yolks
250g caster sugar
½ tsp flaked sea salt
6-7 lemons, finely grated to get 2 tbsp zest, then juiced to get 170ml
100g unsalted butter, at room temperature, cut into 1cm cubes
70g raspberries, halved lengthways


  1. Heat the oven to 165C/145C fan/330F. Line a 20cm square baking tin that has a removable base with a piece of baking paper large enough to cover the base and sides.
  2. For the crust, add the flour, icing sugar, salt, lemon zest, thyme and butter to a food processor and pulse a few times to a crumbly meal – about 20 seconds. Add the almonds and blitz for a few seconds more, until roughly broken. Transfer to the baking tin and use your hands to press the crust into an even layer to cover the base. Bake for 45-50 minutes, or until golden, then set aside until needed.
  3. Meanwhile, make the filling. Whisk together the eggs, yolks, sugar, salt, and lemon zest and juice, in a medium saucepan until smooth. Put over a medium-low heat and stir continuously, until the mixture resembles a thick custard – 12-15 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, place the butter in a medium bowl and place a fine meshed sieve over the bowl.
  5. Remove the lemony custard from the heat and strain through the sieve onto the butter, using a spatula or spoon to push the custard through (discard any sediment that is left in the sieve). Stir until melted and combined. Pour over the shortbread crust and gently shake the tin to even out. Top with the raspberries, spreading them out, cut side down, pressing them in gently without completely submerging them.
  6. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until set but still slightly jiggly in the centre. Leave to cool at room temperature for an hour before refrigerating for at least four hours to set completely.
  7. Gently remove the lemon bar from the tin by holding the baking paper on both sides, and lift on to a cutting board. Trim the ends to give you a perfect square, then slice into 15 pieces, wiping the knife clean as you go.
  8. Use a small sieve to dust the top with icing sugar, then sprinkle with the extra thyme. Serve at once: these are best eaten cold, not long after they’ve been dusted with sugar.