Coconut Lemon Crumble Bars – a 35+ year old family recipe that combines coconut and tangy lemon filling in a buttery crumble bar cookie. Freezes quite well too.
These coconut lemon crumble bars come from a very old family recipe of mine but I have often seen them in local bakeries across Newfoundland.
I have often seen versions without the coconut but we always had them with coconut in our family. Many people use a packaged lemon pie filling in their versions but I like to make my own from scratch. This recipe works well with other citrus fruits like orange and lime as well.
If you plan to freeze these cookie bars, for all crumble type cookies, I always thaw them on a wire cake rack and never in a closed container. There’s a lot of humidity in some freezers that gets trapped inside and can start to make baked goods soggy as they thaw. My method always avoids that problem for me.
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- 2 cups flour
- ¾ cup sugar
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 2 cups dried coconut, medium cut
- pinch salt
- 1 cup butter, cut in small pieces
- ⅓ cup cake flour
- ⅓ cup corn starch
- 1½ cups sugar
- 5 egg yolks, slightly beaten
- Zest of 2 large (or 3 small) lemons, very finely chopped
- Juice of 2 large (or 3 small) lemons
- 2 cups water
- 3 tbsp butter
- pinch salt
- TO MAKE THE LEMON FILLING combine the corn starch, salt, cake flour, sugar and water in a medium saucepan.
- Cook over medium-low heat until the mixture thickens, stirring constantly. Remove from heat.
- Pour about ½ cup of the thickened mixture over the beaten egg yolks and whisk together quickly. This tempers the egg yolks so that they do not scramble.
- Pour this mixture back into the pot and whisk it in quickly. Return the pot to the heat and stir constantly for a few minutes until the mixture is thick and evenly smooth.
- Whisk in the lemon juice and zest and remove from the heat.
- Finally whisk in the butter and set aside to cool while you prepare the crumble mixture.
- FOR THE CRUMBLE mix together the flour, sugar, baking powder, coconut and salt.
- Using your hands or a pastry blender cut in the butter until the it is completely incorporated into the dry ingredients.
- Press half of the crumb mixture into the bottom of a 9 x 13 inch well greased baking pan. Pour the lemon filling evenly over the bottom crumbs. Gently sprinkle the remaining crumbs over the lemon filling and press down gently.
- Bake in a 350 degree F oven for 40 - 45 minutes or until light golden brown in color. Cool completely in the pan before cutting into squares and serving.