Lime bars with saffron

Reprinted with permission from Sweeter Off the Vine, by Yossy Arefi (2016, Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC).




  1. Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350F (180C). Line an 8-inch square baking pan with foil and butter the foil.
  2. To make the crust: Whisk the flour, sugar, cornstarch, and salt together. Add the butter and mix with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula until well combined. Press the dough evenly into the bottom of the pan. Bake until golden brown, about 20 minutes.
  3. While the crust is baking, prepare the filling. Use a mortar and pestle to grind the saffron threads with a pinch of the sugar to a fine powder, then stir in 1 tablespoon of boiling water to bloom.
  4. Add the rest of the sugar and the lime zest to a medium bowl. Rub the zest into the sugar until well combined and fragrant. Stir in the cornstarch and salt. Whisk in the eggs, followed by the lime juice, the saffron threads and their liquid, and the butter until well combined.
  5. When the crust is finished baking, turn the oven down to 300F (150C). Pour the filling over the hot crust and return the pan to the oven. Bake until the filling is set but still slightly wiggly in the center, about 20 more minutes. Cool the bars completely in the pan, then lift the bars out of the pan, using the foil as handles. Cut into any shape you like and dust with confectioners’ sugar just before serving. Store the bars in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to three days.


Instead of foil, I used parchment paper, which worked just fine.