- For the Shortbread Crust
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter at room temperature
- ⅓ cup sugar
- lemon zest from 2 lemons
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- ¼tsp salt
- For the Filling
- 6 egg yolks, at room temperature
- 1 14oz can sweetened condensed milk
- ½ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
- For the Meringue
- 1¼ cups granulated sugar, divided
- 2 tbsp light corn syrup or simple syrup
- 3 tbsp water
- 6 egg whites, at room temperature
- Make the crust. Preheat the oven 350 degress. Line a 9X9 pan with parchment paper – be sure to leave some hanging over the sides.
- Place butter, sugar, flour, zest and salt in a mixing bowl in mix on low speed until it becomes a crumbly dough. Press into an even layer in pan.
- Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until the crust is golden. Allow to cool on a wire rack.
- Make the filling. Beat yolks in an electric mixer with whisk attachment on high speed for 2 to 3 minutes (until pale and fluffy). With mixer still running very gradually add condensed milk and mix until light and fluffy (3 to 5 minutes). Stop mixer, scrape down sides and add lemon juice. Beat on medium speed for 30 seconds to a minute.
- Pour filling over cooled crust and back on 350degree oven for 25 to 30 minutes or until golden brown. Allow to cool on wire rack to room temperature and then cover with plastic wrap and place in refrigerator for at least 4 hours or overnight.
- For the topping. Combine 1cup and 2tbsp of sugar, water and corn or simple syrup in a small saucepan attached with a candy thermometer. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Once boiling stop stirring and allow it to continue to boil until it reaches 240degrees.
- While the sugar is coming up to temperature use a mixer with a whisk attachment and beat egg whites until soft peaks form (about a minute). With mixer still on gradually add the 2 remaining tbsp of sugar. Turn mixer off at this point is syrup is not to temperature. Once syrup is ready set mixer to medium and slowly add syrup, allowing it to run down the side of the mixer bowl. When all added turn mixer to high until meringue is stiff, thick and cool. About 5 to 7 minutes.
- Now the fun part. Turn your oven broiler on high. Spread meringue on top of the lemon bars (I took the bars out of the pan and used the parchment paper to help me make “sides”. Be sure to make a swirl pattern at the top for pretty presentation. Stick the bars under the broiler (I left about 6″ between broiler and top of meringue) and absolutely do not leave it. Watch it until it turns the desired amount of brown (this will happen fast – if you miss it, it will burn). After your meringue has been toasted let it cool and then cut with a knife that has been dipped in warm water (for cleaner cuts). Keep left over bars in an airtight container in the fridge.