I’ve been wanting to bake mochiko batter on a shortbread or pie crust. I’ve seen mochiko baked in a brownie-like batter, and I’ve seen it in a cake form, but I’ve never had it layered with a firm base. I imagined it would have a great textural quality—biting first into the chewy mochi, then into the crumbly crust.
I received a bag full of Meyer lemons last week (thank you, Amy!) and so the experiment began. Lemon bars seemed the perfect thing to modify. I get nervous altering a baking recipe, so I was timid, but the result was pretty good. I added the mochiko after making the curd and stirred in milk to balance the amount of liquid. I baked it a little longer—just enough so the side and top were starting to brown.
The mochiko made the lemon curd firm up, so it’s less custardy and made the final bar less sweet. Sometimes lemon bars are tooth-achingly sweet, so I liked this version better. But next time, I’m going to assert myself more and increase the mochiko so it really takes on a sticky chew.
Lemon Mochi Bars
Adapted from The New Best Recipe
Makes 16 bars
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1 stick unsalted butter, softened but still cool, cut into 1-inch pieces
7 large egg yolks and 2 large eggs
1 cup plus 2 Tbsp. sugar
2/3 cup lemon juice (I used 4 large Meyer lemons—the size of oranges)
1/4 cup or more finely grated zest
1/2 stick unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces
1/2 cup milk or heavy cream
1/2 cup mochiko
Grease a 9-inch square baking pan and fold 2 pieces of parchment paper into the pan like a cross. Make sure you push the paper into the corners and up the sides of the pan.
For the crust, place the flour, confectioner’s sugar, and salt in a large mixing bowl and whisk to combine. Add the butter and cut into the flour using 2 butter knives or a pastry blender until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Sprinkle the mixture into the prepared pan and press firmly with your fingers or with the bottom of a flat glass.
Adjust the oven rack to the middle position and heat to 350 degrees. Bake the crust until golden brown, about 20 minutes.
For the filling, whisk together the egg yolks and whole eggs in a medium nonreactive bowl. Add the sugar and whisk until just combined. Add the lemon juice and zest and the salt; whisk until combined. Transfer the mixtue to a medium nonreactive saucepan, add the butter pieces, and cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until the curd thickens to a thin sauce-like consistency and registers 170 degrees on an instant-read thermometer, about 5 minutes. Immediately pour the curd through sieve set over a clean nonreactive bowl. Stir in the milk or heavy cream and mochiko and pour the curd onto the warm crust immediately.
Bake until the filling is opaque and starting to brown on the sides and top, about 25-30 minutes. Cool on a wire rack to room temperature, about 45 minutes. Remove the bars from the pan using the parchment overhang. Cut into bars and serve.