Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Lemon Pie Bars - Recipe, and GF Alternative

 Lemon Pie Bars

I'm writing this in the evening, and it's probably a very good thing that there's not a pan of lemon pie bars on my kitchen counter.

This is an easy way to get a lemon pie-like dessert when you don't feel like rolling out a crust.

Lemon Pie Bars - Recipe (regular or gluten-free *)

1 pkg. Pillsbury Plus Lemon Cake Mix (has pudding in the mix)
1/4 c. butter, softened
3 egg yolks (reserve whites)
1 c. coconut

Meringue and filling:
3 egg whites
1/2 c. sugar
22 oz. can lemon pie filling (I used 2  15.75 oz. cans) Never hurts to have a little extra pie filling.
(Homemade lemon pie filling recipe is at the bottom of this post.)

Heat oven to 350 degrees. In large bowl, combine cake mix, butter, egg yolks and coconut. Mix at low speed (or pulse in food processor) until crumbly. Press in a 9 x 13 cake pan, ungreased (actually, I used Pam. I don't like taking chances and ending up using a chisel to get the bars out).Bake at 350 degrees F. for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile to make meringue, beat the egg whites (helps to have them room temp) until foamy. Gradually add the sugar; beat until soft peaks form, about 3 minutes.

Remove base from oven and spread evenly with lemon pie filling. Spread meringue over pie filling, making sure to reach the edges of the pan. Return to oven and bake an additional 15-20 minutes or until meringue is light golden brown.

Cool completely and cut into generous squares.

NOTE:  Do NOT cover after baking. It makes the merinque squishy. I did refrigerate it because I made it at night and wanted to serve it the next noon. I let it cool down to room temp before putting it in the refrigerator. I did lay two paper towels over the top, but nothing else.

I have no idea where the recipe came from originally, but I know it was photocopied from a magazine and given to me in a hospital x-ray waiting room. True story.

The meringue

Next time I'll make my own lemon pie filling. Here's the recipe from my trusty, old Betty Crocker cookbook. I'm using 1 1/2 times the amount that is used for a 10 inch pie, because I'll be using the 9 x 13 cake pan.

Area of a 9x13 cake pan:  9x13=117    Area of a 10 inch pie plate: 78.5
SO, 1 1/2 times that amount should be just about right for the 9x13 cake pan. Here are the recipes for the filling and the meringue, both for the 10" pie and the 9x13" cake pan.

Let me know if my math is wrong.

Lemon Pie Filling:

9x13          10" Pie
(2 2/3)       1 3/4 c. sugar
(3/4)          1/2 c. cornstarch
(6)             4 egg yolks, slightly beaten (Reserve the whites for the meringue)
(2 2/3)      1 3/4 c. water
(6 T.)        1/4 c. butter
(2 T.)        1 T plus 1 t. grated lemon peel
(1 c.)        2/3 c. lemon juice

Stir together sugar and cornstarch in medium saucepan. Blend egg yolks and water; gradually stir into sugar mixture. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens and boils. Boil and stir 1 minute. Remove from heat; stir in butter, lemon peel, and lemon juice.


9x13        10" Pie
(6)           4 egg whites
(3/8)       1/4 t. cream of tartar
(3/4)       1/2 c. sugar
(1)          2/3 t. vanilla

Beat egg whites and cream of tartar until foamy. Beat in sugar, 1 T at a time, continue beating until stiff and glossy. Do not underbeat. Beat in vanilla.


* For the Gluten-Free variation, use 1 or 2 Betty Crocker GF Yellow Cake Mixes instead of the Pillsbury one. It takes 2 BC GF Cakes Mix to equal 1 regular cake mix, but since you're using it only for a crust, 1 might be sufficient.

If you have a favorite lemon pie filling recipe that you'd like to share, I'd love it you'd leave it as a comment. We're all dying to make these bars - but this time, without using canned lemon pie filling.


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Terri @ A Creative Princess said...

You know, Judy, that's almost cruel showing something that looks and sounds that delicious!! I wanted to grab that fork in the last photo and put it right in my mouth! YUM!

Paulette said...

My mother made a tasty lemon meringue pie that our whole family loved and talks about to this day. I am not a pie maker, but I just might be able to make these lemon bars and be successful. Thanks for the recipe.

Unknown said...

As I have gotten older, I have found a truly love for anything lemon. Lemon bars, lemon pies, lemon cookies... there is just something refreshing about it! These bars look wonderful... I wish I had a slice or two or three right now!

MadSnapper said...

anything with lemon and coconut has to be divine. but you did not give instructions on how to open the box of cake mix, and what is a food processor? LOL from The Non Cooking MadSnapper..

Cherry's Prairie Primitives said...

What a great spring dessert!! I love how simple the recipe is!!

mail4rosey said...

Yep, those would hit the spot any day, any time. :)

RURAL said...

I could live in a lemon grove and be happy...it's one beautiful scent.

Great recipe, can't wait to give it a try.


Yenta Mary said...

Gasp! I adore lemon - pie, bars, cakes, curd, whatever. These are gorgeous!!!

Butterfly 8)(8 Bungalow said...

This looks yummy! Thanks so much. I think my husband uses the Betty Crocker recipe for lemon filling because it only calls for corn starch which is GF.

sweetbriardreams said...

Yum, making this at the weekend. Going to have fun with the meringue part as I love scaring my daughter when I put the bowl upside down above her head! Thanks for sharing this. Chel x

Denise said...

Eddie loves lemon.

Chatty Crone said...

I love that and I haven't even eaten it! sandie

Terri D said...

It looks very good, but I don't like lemon desserts. Joe would love it, though, so I might have to make it for him. Sounds fairly easy!

Carla from The River said...

Honestly Judy, why are you not calling me to come over when you make all this great food! :-)

podso said...

It looks delicious! I didn't like lemon when I was young but have become more and more fond of it. Favorite of my husbands, but I tend to make chocolate things more than lemon!

Heide at ApronHistory said...

I use the Betty Crocker recipe for lemon merigue pie. I have seen a recipe that uses sour cream in the pudding.....sounds rich! Haven't tried it yet. I like the bar idea and coconut in it! Yum! I suppose one could use a shortbread type crust too. We don't use cake mixes. I can't stand the bleached cake flour taste. (Though if you used the GF mix, you wouldn't have the problem!)

Carolina HeartStrings said...

What a great lemon recipe. Cannot wait to try this one!

Unknown said...

Thanks so much for giving the gluten free alternative! I love Betty Crocker's gluten free products. They always perform really well for me.


Judy S. said...

What a fun way to vary lemon bars! (I'd leave out the coconut though.)

Unknown said...

Featuring you tomorrow on my blog and Facebook. Thanks for linking!

Kathy said...

Yum, I can just imagine how fresh and delicious this recipe is - perfect for spring and summer! I do appreciate you sharing with Home and Garden Thursday,

Anonymous said...

Those look delish! I am pinning. I love lemon meringue pie. Can't wait to try these. Have a great week!~Wanda

Love Bakes Good Cakes said...

Oh my! I have been thinking about making lemon bars ... but lemon pie bars sound even better! Thanks so much for joining us at last week's All my Bloggy Friends .... We look forward to seeing what you share this week!

Anonymous said...

Mmmmm...this looks delicious! I love lemon in the summer. I'm visiting from the It's Overflowing link party.

Christy @ Creating a Beautiful Life

Christine E. A. Geschke said...

Hi Judy! These Lemon Pie Bars look wonderful!! You may also enjoy my new Link Party #cakefriday where we celebrate our love for cakes and sweet treats! If you like come over and see us. i'd love to have you! Have a wonderful Sunday! Christine

Katherines Corner said...

I love lemon, these look delish! Thank you for sharing. I'm hopping over from the Scoop hop today xo


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