Lemon bars have always been one of my favorite desserts. That tart-sweet flavor just does it for me; not too sweet and not too sour, soft and sorta gooey and a bit of crumble in the crust. Mmm. And raspberries just go so great with lemon, don’t you think? Today I got the motherload of raspberries off our one little raspberry bush – at least probably 6 cups! This is the first year we’ve had so many raspberries, and I am so excited. There are still more that need to ripen! Guess I need to figure out some more recipes to use them in… Shouldn’t be too hard, as raspberries are just about the best fruit on the planet (IMHO). 🙂
Back to recipes though – Raspberry Lemon Bars!! I’ve been toying with the idea of trying out more paleo-type recipes for the hubby and myself. Still vegan of course on my end, but simply removing a lot of the processed foods and gluten/grains for the majority of our eating. I think the paleo concept seems really simple and makes a lot of sense to me on an intuitive level. Why wouldn’t we want to eat as closely to our ancestors as possible (leaving out all the processed crap)? Makes sense to me!
But I also really feel strongly about being vegan. I think that since we don’t have to kill needlessly with our technology and knowledge of nutrition these days, there’s no reason not to attempt to preserve life whenever possible. And of course eat lots of delicious plant products!! This paleo/gluten-free adventure is not something that I’m going to follow 100% but there are elements I’d like to incorporate.
So today, with this recipe, I thought I would try it out, at least somewhat. Next time I want to try it with almond and coconut flours to make it really paleo friendly, so feel free to try that and let me know how it works if you’re feeling adventurous!! But today all I had in my cupboard was gluten-free oat flour so I figured that would be next best and still a really clean healthy option, especially since I used stevia and agave for the sweetener. So here it is, my first attempt at Raspberry Lemon Bars.
- For crust:
- 1-1/2 c oat flour
- 3 Tbs coconut oil, melted
- ¼ tsp salt
- 4 packets of stevia (or substitute ¼ cup sugar if preferred)
- 3-4 Tbs water
- For filling:
- 2 cups raspberries, strained for the juice
- 1⅓ cups water
- 3 tbsp agar flakes
- ⅓ cup agave nectar
- ½ cup fresh lemon juice
- 3 tbsp arrowroot powder
- ½ tbsp finely grated lemon zest (from 1 lemon)
- ¼ cup almond milk
- Additional stevia or confectioners sugar, for sprinkling (if desired)
- Grease an 8x8 inch baking pan. Preheat oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit.
- For the crust, mix the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Add coconut oil and mix until it looks crumbly. Add water, a tablespoon at a time, until the mixture forms a pliable dough. Press evenly into the bottom of the greased pan. Bake for 20 minutes, then remove and let cool.
- Meanwhile prepare the filling: In a saucepot, soak the agar in the water for 15 minutes. Use the time while it soaks to zest your lemons and squeeze your lemon juice. Mix the arrowroot into the lemon juice, raspberry juice, and agave to dissolve. When the agar has been soaked for 15 minutes, turn on the heat and bring the mixture to a boil. Boil for about 10 minutes, or until the agar is completely dissolved. Turn down the heat to medium and add the arrowroot/juice mixture, then add the lemon zest and almond milk. Whisk constantly until the mixture thickens, about 5 minutes. It should not be rapidly boiling, but low bubbling is okay. Pour the mixture into the prepared crust. Let cool for 20 minutes and then refrigerate for at least 3 hours, until the filling is only slightly jiggly and has set. Sprinkle with stevia or confectioners sugar, if using. Slice in squares and serve.