Easter recipe: Quick and easy lemon bars

A few years ago I decided it would be a great idea to invite lots of people over for a special Easter meal without really thinking about my other commitments at that time.

Like most people, I tend to overcommit and overwhelm myself during the holidays and that Easter was no exception. I had planned a lemon-themed menu, filled my home with yellow spring flowers and organised some fun games, but time was running out and panic ensued when I realised that I just wasn't going to be able to make the lemon meringue pie I had enthused about to my expectant guests.

Not wanting to disappoint by buying a dessert or deviate from my theme, I decided to cross my fingers, use what I had on hand to attempt a quick batch of lemon bars. Thankfully, they were a big hit and have now become a regular accompaniment to an afternoon coffee at Easter time.

Lemon bars (makes 18)

These lemon bars are quick and easy to make and can be made a day in advance and kept refrigerated. Great on their own or served with sorbet for a refreshing and citrusy dessert.

Ingredients:

For the base

225g of plain flour

100g icing sugar

30g of cornflour

½ a teaspoon of salt

160g of unsalted butter, cut into small cubes

For the topping

4 eggs

260g granulated sugar

3 heaped tablespoons of plain flour

Zest of 3 lemons

160ml of lemon juice

80ml of milk

Directions:

1. Combine all of the ingredients for the base until you have a bread crumb consistency.

2. Pour the mixture into a greased and lined 9x13 inch baking dish and press down to form an even layer across the bottom of the dish.

3. Refrigerate for half an hour and then bake at 180C/Gas 4 for 20 minutes.

4. While the base is in the oven, whisk the first three ingredients for the topping and then stir in the remaining ingredients.

5. Reduce the oven temperature to 160C/Gas 3, remove the base from the oven and pour the topping over the base while it is still warm. Return to the oven and cook for 20 minutes or until firm to the touch.

6. Cool in the dish and then slice into squares. Dust with icing sugar before serving if desired.