DIY: Spring Desserts: How to make tangerine and milk jelly and lemon bars

Homemade sweets perfect for a warm and sunny day.

Sarah Young, Graphic's editor

Spring, although a time for allergies and a war against the pollen outside, remains a favorite of mine, due to it also being the same time my mom and I would bake seasonal sweets. Fragrant lemon bars with lemonade and refreshing tangerine jelly, for example, are commonplace in my home.


The lemon bars have always been a family favorite, with the recipe being passed down from my aunt in the Philippines to my mom here in California. My mom always makes them as  springtime approaches, and when summer rolls around, she chills them in the fridge with a cold cup of lemonade. And on a warm day filled with itchy eyes and a runny nose, the sweet and mellow taste of milk jelly is enough to brighten my day.


Tangerine and Milk Jelly:

Recipe from: “Kawaii Bento Boxes cute and convenient Japanese meals on the go” by Joie Staff

Tangerine Jelly:


¼ cup mandarin oranges

2-3 tablespoons syrup from the fruit can diluted with water to fill one cup

2 tablespoons sugar (confectioners or regular cane sugar)

1 teaspoon agar-agar powder (can be substituted with gelatin)


1. Pour agar-agar/gelatin and half of the syrup water mix into a small saucepan. Heat to boiling point and cook two to three minutes over low heat.

2. When the agar-agar/gelatin is fully dissolved, add the remaining syrup water and remove from heat. Allow it to cool before adding in mandarin oranges and then pouring into molds.

3. Finally, place molds into the fridge and allow them to cool until they are set, approximately one to two hours (You can tell based on whether they jiggle or not).


Milk Jelly:


¾ cup milk

¼ cup water

2 tablespoons of sugar

1 teaspoon agar-agar/gelatin powder


1. In a small pot boil water and agar-agar/gelatin until all the agar-agar/gelatin has dissolved.

2. Reduce heat and add milk and sugar. Cook for two minutes over low heat, stirring occasionally. Allow mixture to cool.

3. Pour into molds and allow to set in the refrigerator for approximately one to two hours.

Lemon Custard Bars:



1 cup of finely chopped almonds

¾ cup of butter

½ cup of confectioner’s sugar

½ teaspoon of lemon extract

1½ cup flour

⅛ teaspoon salt

Lemon Custard:

Juice of two medium lemons

1 tablespoon of lemon rind

4 eggs

1¼ cup of confectioners’ sugar

1 teaspoon baking powder

¼ cup flour

¼ teaspoon salt


1. Place dry ingredients for crust in a bowl. Add in butter and mix by cutting with two butter knives. Once the mixture is fine and thoroughly mixed, place and press mixture into a buttered pan.

2. Place pan into an oven preheated to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown.

3. Place lemon custard ingredients in a mixing bowl and beat at medium speed, adding the wet ingredients before the dry ingredients. Beat until well mixed, then pour mixture over the crust layer.

4. Place pan back in the oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit and bake for 25 minutes. Use a toothpick to check if it’s done. If the toothpick comes out clean, it’s finished. Allow to cool and sprinkle with powdered sugar and cut into bars