The past couple of weeks I have been on a savory recipe kick. This is mostly due to the fact that I don’t eat sweets, while my mother has also been spending more time baking, which means those treats must get eaten first before I can create a new dessert recipe. Of course, this is fine with me, as it allows me to focus more energy on sharing what I eat in a week, an example being last week’s post of Beef Tongue and Chimichurri. That being said, lemon bars have been something I have wanted to re-create into an Autoimmune Paleo friendly treat for quite some time now. As one of my father’s favorite treats, I knew that he would be the perfect candidate for taste-testing, as he would undoubtedly let me know some way or another that they were not his favorite. That being said, the results were rather remarkable, as everyone, including my mother who is more fond of chocolate treats, loved them immensely. Instead of eggs, I used white Japanese sweet potato, which worked perfectly for a substitute, as it is naturally sweet with no strong “potato” flavor. Therefore, not only did the bars come out super creamy, but my father though they were fantastic, so much so he wanted to go back for more. The crust is based off my Iced Sugar Cookie recipe, of which I simply reduced the amount of maple sugar in. However, if you are looking to make these bars fruit sweetened, using soaked dates would most likely work great for both the crust and filling. As a note for those wondering, I have yet to try and replace the water chestnut flour with anything, and therefore cannot guarantee any substitutions will work. However, I have a feeling that sweet potato, coconut, or tiger nut flour would be fine. Despite the numerous steps noted below, do not be fooled, this recipe is truly much simpler than it appears. In fact, it comes together even easier if you do it in stages, allowing the bars to chill overnight and intensify in flavor. To save energy, I boiled the sweet potato while making my dinner, prepared the crust and filling the next day, allowed them to chill over night, and then served them the next afternoon as my parents sat down for their Sunday cups of coffee. Overall, these lemon squares taste divine, as they are not only delightfully creamy, but they also have a flakey, sugar cookie crust that lends perfectly to the tangy citrus filling, much like a “normal” lemon bar would. Served a long side your favorite beverage, or even to a group of friends, these lemon square are sure to be a hit with everyone, and hey, they can even count for your daily vegetable intake (kidding, of course).
Creamy Lemon Squares
Cook Time: 50 Minutes
(Makes 16-20 squares)
- 3/4 cup tapioca flour
- 3/4 cup water chestnut flour
- 1/2 cup maple syrup
- 1/2 cup non-hydrogenated palm shortening
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 1 1/2 cup (12 oz) white Japanese sweet potato
- 1/4 cup maple sugar
- 1/4 tsp sea salt
- 1/2 cup lemon juice (from 4 lemons)
- 2 tbsp grass-fed gelatin
- 1/4 cup water
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- In a food processor, pulse together crust ingredients until a smooth dough has formed.
- Scoop dough into a greased, 8 inch square baking dish.
- Wet the back of your spatula and evenly spread the dough to all four corners of the dish, and use a fork to poke holes throughout the crust.
- Place in a preheated oven and bake for 10 minutes, until the crust is just beginning to brown around the edges.
- Remove the crust from the oven and allow to cool while preparing the filling.
- While the crust is cooling, peel and chop sweet potato into 1 inch chunks.
- Place sweet potato in a small sauce pan filled with water, boiling the potato chunks until fork tender (10 minutes).
- While the sweet potato is cooking, prepare gelatin egg by sprinkling the gelatin over the 1/4 cup water in a shallow bowl.
- Once the sweet potatoes are finish cooking, drain, pat dry, and place in the food processor, along with the maple sugar, lemon juice, and sea salt.
- Blend filling until smooth, then add in gelatin mixture, allowing to mix until fully incorporated.
- Scoop filling onto the prepared crust, spreading to all four corners in an even layer.
- Place baking dish back in the oven and allow it to bake for 30 minutes.
- Remove bars from the oven and allow to cool completely, then place the dish in the fridge and allow to chill for at least 3 hours (or) overnight.
- Once chilled, remove from fridge, slice into desired squares, and enjoy!
To make fully fruit sweetened, replace the maple syrup and maple sugar with soaked and pureed medjool dates to taste (anywhere from 12-18 dates total).
If making 1/2 of a recipe, simply use a loaf pan instead of an 8×8 square pan.