This bar is a basic buttery shortbread enriched with shredded coconut and finely chopped macadamias, topped with a layer of lime curd and crowned with large toasted coconut flakes. This shortbread recipe does ask you to buy two different unsweetened-coconut products – neither of which are in your standard supermarket’s baking aisle (that coconut is highly sweetened). Luckily at many stores that carry bulk items, such as Whole Foods, you will be able to find both of these unsweetened coconuts in one location. The first is a very finely grated unsweetened coconut, which is sometimes called desiccated coconut. We know that doesn’t sound very good, but it just means that it is pure, dried coconut. The second type consists of lovely, large flakes of coconut. If you cannot find this type to sprinkle on the top of the bar, you can either leave it out or use extra desiccated coconut.
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature, cut into pieces
- ½ cup sugar
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- ½ cup (about 2 ounces) macadamias, toasted and finely chopped
- ¼ cup unsweetened shredded coconut
- 1 teaspoon lime zest
- ¾ cup unsweetened large flake coconut
- ¾ cup sugar
- ¼ cup lime juice, freshly squeezed
- 2 large eggs
- 1 large egg yolk
- 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature, cut into pieces
- For the Shortbread: Coat a 13-inch by 9-inch pan with nonstick spray.
- Place butter in a stand mixer's bowl and beat until creamy using the flat paddle attachment. Add sugar gradually and continue beating on high speed until very light and fluffy. This may take as long as 8 minutes. Do not rush this stage. The mixture should be almost white in color.
- Gently stir in the flour, coconut and nuts by hand until just incorporated. This is important to retain the delicate texture of the shortbread.
- Pat shortbread into the pan in an even layer and chill at least 1 hour. About 45 minutes into the chilling time, position rack in the middle of your oven. Preheat to 325° F.
- Bake chilled shortbread for about 20 to 30 minutes or until the shortbread is a pale golden brown. Place pan on rack and cool to room temperature.
- While crust is baking, make the topping. Spread coconut on a rimmed baking sheet and toast for about 3 to 5 minutes, or until tinged with golden brown. Cool pan on rack.
- For the lime curd, place sugar, lime juice, eggs, and yolks, in the top of a double boiler. Whisk together, just enough to break up the eggs, and begin to combine the mixture. Add butter cut into chunks. Place over the bottom of the double boiler filled with hot water, enough to just touch the bottom of the bowl. Place over medium heat and bring water to a simmer, whisking occasionally.
- Cook for approximately 20 to 30 minutes, whisking frequently, or until mixture reaches 180° F when tested with an instant read thermometer. The mixture will have thickened and will form a soft shape when dropped by spoon on top of the rest. Let cool to room temperature.
- Spread cooled lime curd on top of cooled shortbread. Refrigerate until curd has completely firmed up, at least 1 hour or overnight. Store in the refrigerator up to one day, without the coconut topping, with plastic wrap covering the pan, but not touching the lime curd.
- Sprinkle with flaked coconut right before cutting bars (6x4) and serving.
- If you are daring and have a nonreactive, heavy-bottomed saucepan, you could make the lime curd over direct heat; it will go much more quickly. The key is to keep it over a low-medium heat, never leave its side and whisk often.
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