An almost-classic lemon bar. The sweet, tart lemon curd is thicker than usual and the shortbread crust has a little secret: There’s no butter. Instead, we use fruity, savory olive oil, plus a generous amount of salt. —Emma Laperruque
Heat the oven to 325° F. Line a 8- by 8-inch baking pan with parchment. The easiest way to do this is to cut a roughly 11- by 11-inch square. Now cut slits inward from each corner—this will help the paper fold into place. Place the parchment inside and smooth out with your hands.
Make the crust. Combine the flour, sugar, and salt in a bowl. Mix with a spoon to combine. Add the olive oil and mix again until a lumpy dough forms. There should be no dry spots, but it won’t come together into a single mass—don’t overmix!
Dump the olive oil dough into the lined pan and use your hands to pat it flat. Use a fork to prick the dough—figure 15 or so times, evenly distributed.
Bake for about 45 minutes, rotating halfway through, until puffed and softly golden-brown.
Meanwhile, mix the lemon curd. Combine all ingredients in a bowl and whisk until smooth.
When the shortbread timer goes off, re-whisk the lemon mixture if it’s been sitting around awhile. Use oven mitts to gingerly pull out the oven rack. Carefully pour the lemon mixture onto the hot crust. Even more carefully, push the rack back and close the oven.
Lower the heat to 300° F. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes until the edges of the lemon bar are slightly puffed and the center barely jiggles.
Cool at room temperature until just warm to the touch—at least 30 minutes—then chill in the refrigerator completely. Use the parchment to remove from the pan, then cut into 16 squares.
Emma is a writer and recipe developer at Food52. Before this, she worked a lot of odd jobs, all at the same time. Think: stir-frying noodles "on the fly," baking dozens of pastries at 3 a.m., reviewing restaurants, and writing articles about everything from how to use leftover mashed potatoes to the history of pies in North Carolina. Now she lives in Maplewood, New Jersey with her husband and their cat, Butter. Stay tuned every Tuesday for Emma's cooking column, Big Little Recipes, all about big flavor and little ingredient lists. And see what she's up to on Instagram and Twitter at @emmalaperruque.