Happy Valentine’s Day! This wasn’t a planned thing, but since I’ve often made stuff with guava for the month of February, and I just happened to have some leftover guava paste in the fridge, this was bound to happen.
And I simply used a common recipe online for lemon bars with shortbread crust to make these. I basically added some of the guava paste into a lemon bars recipe, decreasing the amount of sugar that lemon bars usually require since guava paste is plenty sweet, yet still keeping some of the lemon to keep that tart element and to keep it from getting too sweet. I did add about an 1/8 of a teaspoon of pink food gel, but feel free to leave that out if you don’t want to add coloring. They’ll still be pink from the guava paste, but might be a little more of a slight pink only.
If you want them to look neater and with clear cut edges, don’t do what I did, which was to not get them completely cooled in the refrigerator first for at least an hour before cutting them. And when you cut them, use a very warm and sharp knife. I usually stick a knife in boiling water in a pitcher for a minute or so, then wipe it dry right before slicing bars like these. Oh well, they still tasted really good!
guava lemon bars
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1/4 cup confectioners sugar
1/4 teaspoon vanilla or almond extract
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
6 ounces guava paste, softened
1/4 cup lemon juice
3 large eggs
1/4 cup guava nectar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/8 teaspoon pink food color gel (optional)
confectioners sugar for topping, optional
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease an 8” x 8” square pan.
Combine flour and butter and smash butter with a rubber spatula until the texture is similar to crumbly cookie dough. Add confectioners or icing sugar, extract, and salt, and continue to combine by scraping and smashing ingredients together with a spatula or fork until mixture is more like a dough but is still fairly crumbly.
Press dough into the pan with your fingers until the crust is completely covering the bottom to the edges. Prick the surface of the crust with a fork all over the top so that when you prebake, it doesn’t puff up.
Prebake crust for about 20 minutes just until lightly browned on the edges. Cool for about 20 minutes.
Lower oven temperature to 325 degrees F.
For filling, first warm guava paste briefly and on low heat, either in a small pan on a stovetop or about 30 seconds in a microwave with lemon juice in a microwave-safe bowl.
Mash with a fork until guava paste is more like a spreadable jam. Add the rest of the filling ingredients and continue to mix together with a fork or a small whisk.
Pour into the cooled pan with the prebaked crust, place in the center rack of the oven and bake at 325 degrees F. for about 40-45 minutes.
The filling may “puff up” first around the edges as it bakes with the center only puffing up in the last 5 minutes. When the center is “puffed up” or looks like it is finally cooked, remove from the oven and let sit in the pan on a wire rack at room temperature for about 20 minutes, then place in a refrigerator until cooled completely. When ready to serve, dust with confectioners sugar if desired and cut into squares or rectangles. Enjoy!
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