Papaya Dessert Bars with Lime

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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


  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.