Lemon Meringue Bars With Poppy Seed Crust

Lemon Meringue Bars With Poppy Seed Crust

These bars are equal parts puckery lemon curd punctuated with a generous amount of lemon zest, and crisp poppy-seed shortbread – twice baked to avoid a soggy bottom. The bars are finished with a billowy swoop of meringue, made with a bit of cornstarch to help keep it from weeping. Make sure to top the bars with meringue while they are still hot from the oven to help seal the two together.
  • Total:
  • Serves: 9 persons



  1. Step 1

    To make the crust: Heat oven to 350 degrees. Line the bottom and sides of a 9-inch-by-13-inch baking dish with foil, taking care to cover the corners as well. Lightly butter the foil.
  2. Step 2

    Whisk the flour, sugar, poppy seeds, cornstarch, lemon zest and salt together. Add the butter and mix until well combined. Press the dough evenly into the bottom of the prepared pan. Bake until deep golden brown, about 25 minutes.
  3. Step 3

    Just before the crust is finished baking, prepare the filling: Combine sugar and lemon zest in a large bowl. Rub zest into sugar with your fingertips until well combined and fragrant. Add flour and salt. Whisk in eggs and egg yolks, followed by the lemon juice.
  4. Step 4

    When the crust is finished baking, turn the oven down to 300 degrees. Pour the filling over the hot crust and return the pan to the oven. Bake until filling is set, but just slightly wiggly in the center, about 23 to 25 more minutes. While the bars are baking, prepare the meringue.
  5. Step 5

    In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, combine the egg whites and cornstarch. Whip on medium-high speed until the mixture is foamy. With the mixer running, slowly add the sugar, about 1 tablespoon at a time, and whip until soft peaks form. Add the vanilla and salt and mix briefly to combine.
  6. Step 6

    When filling is set, remove pan from the oven and switch the oven to broil. Carefully spoon and spread the meringue over the hot bars, then set it under the broiler until the meringue is deep golden brown, 1 to 3 minutes, depending on the heat of the broiler. Keep a close eye on the meringue during this process. It can go from perfectly golden to scorched in mere moments. Cool completely before slicing and serving.