Shirl’s List of Ways to use Lemon Curd: Lemon Curd & Sablé Breton Bars

This is a follow-up to my last post: Lemon Curd (3.09.15). Since I made a large batch of Lemon Curd in the process of creating that post, I was motivated to create something new to show an example of one way to use it. A flash of inspiration produced Lemon Curd & Sablé Breton Bars.

For the crust, I turned to Sablé Breton. Sablé means, literally, sand in French. Breton is a Celtic language spoken, along with French, in Brittany, which is where this recipe originates. If you put these two things together, you have Sablé Breton, which is a buttery, sandy-textured French version of shortbread cookies, sometimes referred to as Breton Biscuits. In addition to using this dough for cookies, it is a favorite of mine and of many other pastry chefs, to use for dessert bases or tart shells, so it seemed like a perfect choice for the crust of a pan of Lemon Curd Bars. I like it here, not only for the wonderful flavor and texture that it provides, but also because it is so easy to cut neatly into bars.

Since Lemon Curd has such an intensely lemon flavor, I chose to make the curd layer half as thick and the crust layer twice as thick as Classic Lemon Bars. This is so a bite will be a nice balance of crust and filling and won’t overwhelm you with too much tartness.

These bars are like a blank canvas, in that you can garnish them in many different ways. I chose two ways to top them off: toasted coconut flakes (chips) or Italian Meringue “kisses”. If you are short on time, just a dusting of powdered sugar is fine, or leave them plain to show off the bright yellow curd.

Of course, Lemon Curd & Sablé Breton Bars are only one of a myriad of ways to use Lemon Curd. Below is a list of over a dozen options which I hope will inspire you to make a big batch of the ever-versatile Lemon Curd:


Lemon Curd Gift Jar

Lemon Curd Gift Jar




Use Full-Strength—

In addition to packing Lemon Curd in cute little jelly jars, the tops covered with jaunty burlap or muslin caps and tied with bits of raffia for gift-giving, use:

1. As a Spread, like jam, for:

  • Muffins, Scones, Crumpets, or Toast
  • English Tea—This is the original use— Lemon Curd, along with Clotted Cream, are classic teatime spreads (or condiments), traditionally served with small scones.

2. As a Filling for:

  • Layer Cakes—Use my post for Lemon Chiffon Mousse Cake as guide for using Lemon Curd in layer cakes.
  • Cake Rolls—A thin spread of Lemon Curd is the perfect filling for a cake roll.
  • Tartlets—Little tarts are best, to show off the delicious tartness without overwhelming the palate. Lemon Curd and fresh berries were made for each other; combine the curd with fresh blueberries, raspberries, blackberries or strawberries for scrumptious and gorgeous little tartlets. If you want to make a large tart, lighten the Lemon Curd with some whipped cream.
  • Cookies—Lemon Curd Linzer Cookies: Either “Sandwich” Cookies or “Thumbprints” (Use almonds or hazelnuts for the Linzer dough).
  • Bar Cookies—Like this post for Lemon Curd & Sablé Breton Bars


Use as an Ingredient

Yielding ultra-lemon flavor in recipes for:

    • Buttercream—For Lemon Curd Buttercream, add 25% by weight to basic Italian Meringue Buttercream (4-1 Ratio)
    • Cream Cheese Frosting—Lemon Curd Cream Cheese Frosting: use the same ratio as for Buttercream
    • Ganache—Lemon Curd White Chocolate Ganache: Use the same ratio as for Buttercream
    • Glaze—Lemon Curd Glaze for Cakes, Tarts, or Cheesecake
    • Ice Cream & Gelato—Lemon Curd Ice Cream: Use the same ratio as for Buttercream
    • Lemon Soufflé—Lemon Curd Soufflé
    • Mousse—Lemon Curd Mascarpone Mousse
    • Roulade or Cake Roll Filling—Lemon Silk Filling: This is simply Lemon Curd with a little whipped cream folded in.
    • Lemon Chiffon Roulade
    • Dessert Sauce—Lemon Curd Sauce for desserts; it is especially good with gingerbread. Just thin the Lemon Curd with a little heavy cream or hot water (the cream will produce a paler yellow color; if you want to maintain the bright yellow, use hot water).
    • Whipped Cream—Lemon Curd Whipped Cream: Add a little Lemon Curd for a lightly flavored lemon taste.














Lemon Curd & Sablé Breton Bars
24 - 2" SQUARES OR 24 - 1" x 4" LONG THIN BARS

  • SABLÉ BRETON CRUST: 1100g (2# 6 oz)
  • 160 grams egg yolks (8 large)
  • 320 grams granulated sugar (1½ cups + 2 T)
  • 320 grams unsalted butter, at room temperature (2¾ sticks)

  • 450 grams unbleached all-purpose flour, sifted (3¼ cups)
  • 20 grams baking powder (1 T + 1 tsp)
  • 5 grams fine sea salt (1 tsp)

  • 1275 grams = Total Crust 45 oz (2# 13 oz)

  • LEMON CURD LAYER: 550g (1¼#)
  • 170 grams lemon juice, freshly squeezed (scant ¾ cup)
  • 170 grams sugar (3/4 cup + 1½ T)
  • 115 grams unsalted butter (1 stick)
  • 160 grams egg yolks (8 large)

  • 615 grams = Total Lemon Curd 21 oz (1# 5 oz)

  • 1890 grams = Total Recipe 66 oz (4# 2 oz)

  1. FOR THE CRUST: Preheat oven to 350°F / 176°C - 30 minutes before baking.Prep quarter-sheet pan: Line pan with foil, building up the sides ½" all around. Spray with non-stick spray.
  2. TO MIX THE DOUGH: Use Kitchen Aid mixer, first with whisk, then with paddle. In mixer with whisk, whip egg yolks about 2 minutes on medium speed. Turn speed to low, and slowly drizzle in sugar with mixer running, another 2 minutes. Scrape down bowl and change to paddle. Still on low speed, add soft butter, a chunk at a time with mixer running, 2 more minutes.
  3. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Add to the bowl in four batches, pulsing in each addition on the lowest speed, mixing until just barely combined. Scrape up bottom of the bowl and mix in. Transfer dough to floured counter.
  4. Press the dough together and pat into a 6" x 8" rectangle about 1 " thick. Lift onto a quarter-sheet of floured parchment paper. Cover with plastic wrap. Roll out to an even thickness the size of the parchment. Patch corners with excess dough from the sides and ends.
  5. Lift into foil-lined pan, leaving the plastic wrap intact. Smooth the top with the flat side of a plastic bowl scraper.
  6. CHILL DOUGH: For 2 hours in refrigerator or 30 minutes in freezer.
  7. DOCK: Prick the dough through the plastic at 1" intervals, using a wooden skewer, then remove plastic wrap. (If dough is frozen hard, temper at room temperature about 20 minutes, then dock.) Bake partially frozen.
  8. BAKE @ 350°F / 176°C for 20-25 minutes, until a wooden skewer tests clean and the top is very lightly browned. Let cool about 10 minutes before adding the Lemon Curd layer. The idea is to have warm crust and warm filling ready at the same time for baking. If making the crust ahead of time, re-heat before filling.
  9. MAKE THE LEMON CURD FILLING: Peel the zest off the lemons in thin strips with a vegetable peeler, then coarse-chop the zest; it will be strained out of the curd later. Squeeze the lemons and strain the juice; weigh or measure the correct quantity of lemon juice. Caution: Make sure that no white pith gets into the curd mixture, either from peeling the zest, (cut any white pith off the backs of the peeled strips with a pairing knife if necessary), or from juicing the lemons (don't squeeze too close to the pith). Either of these things could cause the curd to be bitter.
  10. Combine the zest, juice, sugar and butter in a heavy saucepan; or, if making the large recipe, use a Dutch oven or rondeau. Bring to a boil over medium heat.
  11. Whisk the yolks in a bowl until smooth. Temper half of the boiling liquid into the yolks, whisking constantly. Pour the yolk mixture back into the pot and insert a probe thermometer into the liquid. Stir constantly in a "figure-8" motion with a wooden spoon or heat-resistant rubber spatula (red handle), going often into the corners of the pot. Continue cooking slowly over medium-low heat until the curd thickens to a firm-set, about 10 minutes overall. During this time, turn the heat on and off as necessary, stirring constantly, to prevent the curd from coming to a boil and to maintain a temperature of about 178°F (81°C). If you don't have a thermometer, cook until you can run your finger through the curd on the back of the spoon and a mark remains; this is called the nappé stage. Remove from heat and Immediately strain through a strainer into a bowl.
  12. TO REPEAT: Cook to between 178° (81°C) and (no higher than) 180° F (82°C), the maximum temperature to keep the curd from coming to a boil. Must cook gently, stirring constantly in a "figure-8" motion. NEVER BOIL.
  13. NOTE: If you have previously made lemon curd on hand, cold from the refrigerator, scale out 550g (1¼#); then warm it gently in a bowl set over a pan of simmering water to a temperature of 140°F (60°C) before baking. Stir often.
  14. TO BAKE LEMON CURD BARS: Turn oven down to 275°F (135°C)
  15. Spread warm Lemon Curd on warm crust and bake only 5 minutes just to set and smooth out the curd. Let cool completely in pan. Freeze overnight in pan unwrapped.
  16. TO CUT BARS: Let the pan of frozen bars sit at room temperature for 30 minutes before cutting. Cutting the bars while partially frozen will insure clean sharp edges.
  17. Holding on to the foil, lift the bars out of the pan and place on a cutting board. Peel off the foil and discard, but leave the parchment on the bottom; this will facilitate turning the bars on the cutting board when necessary.
  18. Use a long thin slicing knife and run under hot water (or dip in a pitcher of hot water) and wipe the knife with paper towels after each cut. Use a see-thru ruler for measuring.
  19. FOR 2" SQUARES: Cut crosswise in 2" strips . Cut the strips into 2" squares, starting at the cut end of each strip. Save scraps for snacks.
  20. FOR 1" X 4" LONG THIN BARS: First, cut in half lengthwise. Trim the un-cut side so that each strip is 4" wide. Cut the strips into 1" bars. Save scraps for snacks.
Recipe Ancestry Notes:
The Lemon Curd recipe adapted from Nick Malgieri, the director of the Professional Pastry Program at Peter Kump's New York Cooking School: now the Institute of Culinary Education (ICE). (1992) The Sablé Breton recipe adapted from Pastry Chef En-Ming Hsu, the instructor of a Plated Dessert class at the French Pastry School, Chicago. (2002)


Lemon Curd & Sablé Breton Bars

Lemon Curd & Sablé Breton Bars

 Thanks for stopping by. Enjoy!