Meyer Lemon Mochi Bars

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
pinch salt
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.

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  1. Lana Lei
    Posted February 9, 2010 at 7:44 pm | Permalink

    Ah-mazing post.

    Mochi and meyer lemon bars? Together? Genius idea!

  2. Posted February 9, 2010 at 10:32 pm | Permalink

    Awesome!!! What a great idea!!! I have lots of mochiko left over from mochi making with the family at New Years and my dad has a tree full of Meyer lemons. Sounds like a perfect plan! – mary

  3. B
    Posted February 12, 2010 at 9:12 pm | Permalink

    i just found your site and i’m so excited to try your recipes, esp. the mochi ones! my husband loves lemon bars so i’m going to try this recipe for v-day. if i make them the night before, should i refrigerate these or just leave them out? thanks!

  4. Posted February 12, 2010 at 10:55 pm | Permalink

    B, this recipe doesn’t use too much mochiko—it’s more firm than a standard lemon bar, but not chewy (or not as chewy as I would’ve liked!) the way baked mochi recipes tend to be. However, the mochiko does take the edge off and still maintains its texture, even after a few days. You don’t have to refrigerate unless keeping for several days. Hope you like the recipe and have a Happy Valentine’s Day!

    Mary, I envy your easy access to a bountiful Meyer lemon tree!

  5. B
    Posted February 13, 2010 at 7:37 pm | Permalink

    i’m not sure if i missed it but when do you add the mochiko flour? i realized it wasn’t there as i made this tonight! i added it to the pan while i heated the lemon curd. so it got heated and super thick – not sure i did this right! it’s in the oven right now so we’ll see what happens. :)

  6. Posted February 13, 2010 at 9:14 pm | Permalink

    B, thank you for catching the exclusion of the mochiko! I’ve revised the recipe above. Yes, you did it right—mix the mochiko into the curd along with the milk or heavy cream. Please let me know what you think and I’d love to hear if you modified the recipe in any way!

  7. B
    Posted February 13, 2010 at 11:03 pm | Permalink

    i actually added the flour too early – i put it in the lemon mixture in the saucepan, so it got heated in the saucepan. everything (the mochiko, i assume) started getting super thick, so i quickly turned off the heat and put it over the crust! it turned out ok, but the curd was not as firm as i think it should have been after it baked – but it was still delicious. i like it better than regular lemon bars – like you said, the mochi takes the edge off. thanks again!

  8. Posted February 14, 2010 at 11:24 pm | Permalink

    B, Thanks for letting me know how it went! I’m glad you liked it and hope it was a good Valentine’s Day treat.

  9. Posted March 10, 2010 at 3:57 pm | Permalink

    This is a fabulous recipe! I love it. I wish I had a bag of Meyer Lemons to experiment with- you lucky duck :) I’ve been trying some various things with mochi lately and I have been surprised at how versatile it can be. This is a perfect example!

  10. christine
    Posted May 16, 2012 at 9:38 am | Permalink

    i just tried this recipe yesterday for dinner at a friend’s, and it was SO yummy! I think next time I’ll add more lemon juice and more mochi, but your recipe is really delicious as it is — it was a big hit and everyone loved them! Thank you so much for sharing!!! :)

  11. Posted May 16, 2012 at 11:17 am | Permalink

    Christine, thank you for giving this a try! I’m happy to hear it was a hit!

  12. Tina
    Posted April 16, 2014 at 1:26 am | Permalink

    This looks sooo good! Can’t wait to try it!

    Can I use any glutinous flour or does it have to be mochiko? I don’t have mochiko avaible anywhere near where I live but I’d love to make this.
    Love your blog btw :)

  13. Posted April 16, 2014 at 6:32 am | Permalink

    Thank you, Tina! You can use regular flour (not glutinous) and it’ll be more like a traditional lemon bar. Happy baking!

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