Papaya Dessert Bars with Lime

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Desserts are definitely something I enjoy making, especially if they include any kind of chocolate. That said, in the summer, I tend to gravitate toward lighter desserts that feature the variety of fruits on hand. Something as simple as a mixture of berries, drizzled with a bit of lemon and some whipped cream is usually enough to satisfy my sweet tooth. I also enjoy lemon bars, which are typically comprised of a shortbread crust and a tangy lemon baked custard on top. But I was looking for something different and having worked with papaya this past spring for a stir-fry I thought, why not try papaya for the fruit part of the bar?

Papaya Dessert Bars with Lime is an easy dessert to make and quite refreshing. They’re perfect for summertime. The trick for these bars (and any shortbread bar) is prepping the pan. In this case, butter the pan and then place parchment paper on the bottom of the buttered pan extending it up the sides. Butter the top of the parchment paper and dust with flour. This ensures that the bars won’t stick and, because the parchment paper extends up the side, the bars are easy to lift out and cut.

Make the Papaya Bars

For the shortbread crust, mix together the dry ingredients until they are thoroughly combined. Using a Table Knife, cut the cold butter into slices, working quickly to ensure the butter doesn’t soften too much.

Sliced pads of butter with a Table Knife.Add the cold butter and vanilla into the dry ingredients and pulse in a food processor until the mixture resembles sand. Pour this mixture into the prepared pan and press the crust down until you have a packed and even crust.

Pressing down the crust mixture.

While the crust is baking, prepare the papaya filling. Peel the papaya and cut it in half with a 6-3/4" Petite Carver and then remove the seeds from both halves with a spoon. Cut the halves of the papaya into quarters.

Cutting the papaya into quarters with the Petite Carver.

Once you have your quarters, cut the papaya into slices using a 7" Santoku knife

Sliced papaya.

Place the papaya into a blender and blend into a puree, making sure it fills one cup.

Mix together the sugar, flour and sea salt, and set aside. Add the eggs, lime juice and honey to the papaya puree and blend until smooth. Add the dry ingredients and blend until completely combined and smooth. It should almost be glossy.

When the crust comes out of the oven, pour the puree mixture over the hot crust so there is an even layer and place the pan back into the oven to finish baking. Once cooked, remove the pan from the oven and allow the dessert to cool completely. When cooled, remove the bars from the pan by lifting up the bars by the parchment paper and place on a cutting board.

Using a Spatula Spreader, cut the dessert into bars. I trimmed the edges so the bars had a nice even edge on all four sides.

Using a Spatula Spreader to cut the bars.

Place the bars on a serving plate, sprinkle with powdered sugar and serve. Make sure any leftover bars are refrigerated. But, who are we kidding…leftover bars?!

These Papaya Dessert Bars with Lime are a new twist on a typical summer dessert. The lime doesn’t overpower the papaya and you end up with a lightly flavored fruit over a buttery shortbread crust. It’s not too heavy and completely refreshing. These are easy to make and even easier to eat. We hope you enjoy!

Papaya Dessert Bars with Lime

Print Recipe

Ingredients

For the crust:

  • 1 cup, plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup very cold unsalted butter, sliced
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla

For the filling:

  • 1 1/2 pound red papaya (to yield 1 cup red papaya puree)
  • 1/2 cup white granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • Powdered sugar for topping, optional

Directions

  1. Heat the oven to 350 F.
  2. Prepare 9-inch baking dish by buttering it and placing a piece of parchment on the bottom of the dish that also extends up the side of the pan. Butter the top of the parchment paper (or use nonstick spray) and dust with flour. Set aside.
  3. Make the crust: Using a food processor or mixer with paddle attachment, mix together the flour, salt, baking powder and sugar. Add the cubes of butter and vanilla and mix together until it resembles coarse sand. Pour this mixture into the prepared baking dish and press into the dish to form an even layer. Bake for approximately 15 minutes until the edges of the crust are set.
  4. Make the filling: While the crust is baking, prepare the papaya by peeling it, cutting it in half, removing the seeds and cutting into quarters. Slice the quarters and put the sliced papaya into a food processor or blender and mix until the papaya is completely smooth (you want one cup of the puree).
  5. In a medium-large bowl, mix together the sugar, flour and salt.
  6. Add the eggs, lime juice and honey into the blender with the papaya puree and blend/pulse until the mixture is thoroughly combined – it should be very smooth. Add the dry ingredients to the liquid mixture and again blend until completely smooth.
  7. Once the crust comes out of the oven, pour the papaya filling over the hot crust and place the pan back into the oven and cook for an additional 20 to 25 minutes. The bars are completely cooked when the filling is set.
  8. Cool the pan on a wire rack and allow the bars to reach room temperature.
  9. Remove the entire dish from the pan by gently running a knife along the sides of the pan and lifting the dessert out by the parchment.
  10. Cut into bars on a cutting board, sprinkle with powdered sugar and serve.
  11. These bars can be kept in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to one week.

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