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Bake, Desserts

Creamy Labneh Lemon Bars

Creamy Labneh Lemon Bars
Mariah Tauger / Los Angeles Times / Prop styling by Joni Noe

Labneh is a thick unsweetened Middle Eastern yogurt, and it gives these bars a flavor and texture between cheesecake and lemon bars. You can find it in many supermarkets and in Middle Eastern groceries. Read more

Total time: 45 minutes, plus cooling and chilling | Makes 2 dozen
  • 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 ¼ cups packed powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 12 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes
  • 4 large lemons
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 container (16 ounces) labneh

Step 1Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Line the bottom and sides of a 13-by-9-inch cake pan with foil, leaving overhang on all sides, and lightly coat the foil with nonstick cooking spray.

Step 2Whisk the flour, ½ cup powdered sugar and ¾ teaspoon salt in a large bowl. Add the butter, toss to coat, and press into the dry ingredients using a pastry cutter or your fingers until fine crumbs form. Or, use a food processor and pulse the dry ingredients until mixed, then pulse in the butter until fine crumbs form. Scatter the crumbs evenly across the bottom of the prepared pan and press firmly into the bottom in an even layer. Bake until the bottom crust is golden brown, 15 to 17 minutes.

Step 3While the crust bakes, make the filling: Finely grate 1 tablespoon zest from the lemons into a large bowl, then squeeze ½ cup juice into the bowl. (You may not need all 4 lemons.) Add the eggs, labneh, remaining ¾ cup powdered sugar and remaining ¼ teaspoon salt and whisk slowly until smooth. You don’t want to create too many tiny bubbles while whisking or the top will look cratered after baking.

Step 4Remove the pan from the oven, pour the lemon filling over the hot crust and return the pan to the oven. Reduce the oven temperature to 300 degrees. Bake until set around edges and barely jiggly in the center, 15 to 20 minutes.

Step 5Cool the bars completely on a wire rack, then refrigerate until firm, at least 2 hours. Using the overhanging foil, lift and slide the bars onto a cutting board and cut into 24 bars.

Variations

Berry Lemon Bars

Arrange raspberries, blackberries, blueberries or cut strawberries over the chilled bars.

Stone Fruit Lemon Bars

Arrange peeled and sliced peaches, nectarines or apricots over the chilled bars.

Note: Make ahead: The bars can be refrigerated for up to 2 days.

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