I get really happy when I get to create something delicious with the fruits we grow on our property.
Even on the most stressful day, cooking relaxes me. And it’s a good thing, because with four growing boys and a hard working man around, I do a LOT of cooking.
The beauty of our tropical climate is that most of the fruit on our property grows year-round. But right now, it seems like everything is abundant: Bananas, avocados, pomelo, and papaya…Lots of papaya.
Well, for a long time now, my boys’ favorite treat has been LEMON BARS. It’s what they always ask for if we go to a special cafe or bakery.
And I don’t know why it took me so long, but suddenly–last week, out of the blue, I had this GREAT IDEA: Why not make a PAPAYA VERSION of a LEMON BAR?
And that was the best idea I’ve had in a long time.
Now my boys have a new favorite treat.
And plenty of it.
I fiddled my way through three different versions of this recipe, each time exchanging some ingredient that I didn’t feel good about, with something I did.
And sure enough, the results were amazing.
The great thing about papaya is that it is so naturally sweet, you don’t need nearly as much sweetener as a lemon bar requires.
It was really easy to switch out honey for sugar, almond flour for white flour, and coconut oil instead of butter.
My family did a taste comparison of the different versions.
They all preferred the healthier version!
Seriously. I wouldn’t lie about this.
*someone tell me you love the rainbow unicorn as much as I do* (It’s a very old IKEA tray I took from my Grandmother years ago–)
One note on sugar: The batch I made with ONLY honey, had a slightly more moist (jiggly,) texture than the one I tried with sugar. (I tried hard to think of another one than “jiggly,” sorry, just couldn’t.)
My personal favorite–using 1/4 cup sugar and 1/4 cup honey. You can play around and decide what you like best!
- ½ cup almond meal flour (can use reg. (all-purpose) flour.
- 2 Tbsp. maple syrup
- ¼ cup coconut oil
- 1 cup shredded coconut
- ¼ tsp. salt
- 1 egg white
- ½ cup honey (or sugar, or a combination of the two.)
- ¼ c. almond meal flour (if sub.w/ reg. flour, use just 2 T.)
- ¼tsp. salt
- ¾ cup papaya puree
- 2 large eggs
- 2 tsp. lemon juice
- powdered sugar, optional.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees
- Line an 8X8 pan with parchment paper.
- In a medium sauce pan, over medium heat, combine coconut oil and almond flour.
- Add maple syrup, shredded coconut, almond flour and salt.
- Mix until well combined, remove from heat and stir the egg white into the mixture, combining well.
- Transfer to prepared pan and carefully press down firmly.
- Bake 8-10 minutes, checking for it to turn a light golden brown.
- Meanwhile, begin preparing the filling.
- Remove the seeds from 2 medium papaya, and place fruit in a blender or food processor.
- Turn on medium and mix until a smooth consistency.
- Pour into a large bowl, and add eggs, almond flour, lemon juice, honey, and salt. Using a wire whisk, combine until glossy and smooth.
- Pour filling over the hot crust, and transfer back to the oven for remaining 20-25 minutes.
- When done, the filling will appear set.
- Cool in the pan on a cooling rack until it reaches room temperature.
- **Best kept covered in a refrigerator.
Please PIN this to save for later. Share with your friends, and…just try making these!
This time of year you should be able to find good papaya in most areas. (If you can’t find any, come by our place, and grab one of ours. Or twelve. ;))
(and her miniature food inspection assistant, Levi)