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pickled blueberry lemon bars with an olive oil shortbread crust

I remember making lemon bars with my friends to enjoy on our picnics in the suburbs of Philadelphia. They were such a treat! My favorite part was sifting the powdered sugar on top! Since moving to Charleston, I have been using Olinda olive oil in both sweet and savory recipes. I hope you love these lemon bars. They are quite special, and the pickled blueberries add an acidic kick to the super sweet lemon curd. The flaky sea salt adds a salty finish, as well as a crunch.

Basic lemon bars adapted from Emma Laperraque

Pickled Blueberries by Angela Brown

Lemon Bars


2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 cup sugar

3/4 teaspoon kosher salt

Lemon Curd

6 large eggs

1 3/4 cups sugar

7 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1 cup fresh-squeezed lemon juice

3 lemons, zested (about 1 tablespoon)

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

Flaky sea salt, optional, for topping

Pickled blueberries (recipe below!)

Heat the oven to 325° F. Line an 8x8-inch baking pan with parchment. Make sure there are no wrinkles.

Make the crust. Combine the flour, sugar, and salt in a bowl. Mix with a whisk to combine and get rid of any lumps. Add the olive oil and mix again with a spoon until a lumpy dough forms.

It should not be dry, and should not come together into one large ball either.

Transfer the dough to the prepared pan and use your hands to pat it flat. Use a fork to prick the dough 15 times, evenly distributed.

Bake for 40 to 50 minutes, rotating halfway through, until puffed and golden-brown.

While the dough is baking, make the lemon curd. Combine all ingredients in a bowl and whisk until smooth.

When the dough is finished baking, whisk the lemon mixture to ensure that all the sugar did not sink to the bottom.

Using oven mitts, pull the lemon bars out of the oven onto a hot plate. Carefully pour the lemon mixture onto the hot crust. Sprinkle with flaky sea salt and pickled blueberries, if desired.

Put the lemon bars back into the oven. Bake for 30 to 45 minutes, or until the edges of the lemon bar are slightly puffed and the center barely jiggles.

Cool at room temperature at least 30 minutes until they are barely warm. Chill in the refrigerator completely. If you are not making frozen lemon bars, you want to keep these in the refrigerator, tightly wrapped.

If you would like frozen lemon bars, transfer to the freezer for at least 1 hour after letting cool in the refrigerator. Cut into squares, about 16 or so. Individually wrap in plastic wrap and store for whenever you or a friend is craving something sweet!

Pickled Blueberries

1 cup white wine vinegar

1/4 cup sugar

1 3/4 tablespoons kosher salt

1 teaspoon black peppercorns

3 to 4 sprigs fresh rosemary

1 pint fresh blueberries

Add the vinegar, sugar, salt, peppercorns. and rosemary to a small saucepan and bring to the mixture a boil.

Meanwhile, rinse the blueberries and add them to a clean glass jar.

Remove the saucepan from the heat and allow it to slightly cool, about five minutes.

Pour the brine over the blueberries, being sure to cover the fruit entirely. Allow everything to cool to room temperature. When kept covered and stored in the refrigerator, the blueberries will keep for about 1 week.



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