I first made these brilliant, sweet-tart gems last summer for a barbeque and they’ve been my go-to lemon bar since. They are not, as should be apparent, you average lemon bar.

The recipe, courtesy of the wonderful Baking Bites, saw the addition of pureed strawberries to get the lovely electric pink Strawberry-Lemonade Bars. Such a delicious innovation! The hue is totally unadulterated, and the bars are endowed with both an electric lemony tartness and possess a pronounced strawberry flavor.

Of course, with the original such a success, I have had a wonderful time subbing other fruits for the strawberries to capture other colorful flavors. Thus far I’ve made sexy mauve Blueberry-Lemonade Bars, glowing orange Mango-Lemonade Bars, Kiwi-Lemonade Bars, and deepest purple Blackberry-Lemonade Bars pictured here with the (isn’t she) pretty in pink originals.

With a quick to come together shortbread crust, and a curd that gets whizzed together in a food processor, these really couldn’t be easier, and the payoff is high. I am currently fantasizing about a Blueberry Van Gogh Lemonade Bar with lightly sauteed starfruit slices embedded in a dark purple blueberry sky, or maybe a pineapple version with some coconut pulsed into the crust? Anyway, as you can see, the possibilities are endless!

Strawberry Lemonade Bars
Baking Bites

1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cups flour
1/4 tsp salt

1 c fresh lemon juice
2-3 tsp lemon zest
1/2 c pureed soft fruit (about 3/4 c chunked fruit)
1 1/4 c sugar
4 large eggs
1/4 c flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a 9×13-inch baking pan.

Make the crust: in a large bowl, cream together sugar and butter, until smooth and fluffy. Working at a low speed, gradually beat in flour and salt until mixture is crumbly. Pour into prepared pan and press into an even layer. Bake for about 17 minutes, until set at the edges.

While the crust bakes, prepare the filling: In the bowl of a food processor, combine lemon juice, lemon zest, fruit puree, sugar and eggs and process until smooth. Add in flour, baking powder and salt, then pulse until smooth. (I tend to let the filling sit a bit so the foam breaks down, leaving you with a smoother finish…) Gently pour the filling over the hot crust when it has finished baking. Return pan to oven and bake for 23-26 minutes, until the filling is set (There will be a light colored “crust” on top from the sugar in the custard – nothing to worry about).

Cool completely before slicing and use a damp knife to ensure clean slices. Store bars in the refrigerator, especially on a hot day. Makes 24 bars.