Tuesday, 28 April 2015

Lemon Squares

Hello Spring! These lemon squares are so quick, simple and delicious, you will want to have a lemon or two on hand at all times in order to whip up a batch on a whim.  I picture these as the perfect dessert for a spring BBQ or for Mother's Day brunch.

This is my second foray into baking with citrus - this lemon cake was a beauty and a winner for Easter dinner.  I love working with my new little zester - a bit messy but doesn't the kitchen smell wonderful!

Lemon Squares

Butter Crust
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour
pinch of salt

Lemon Filling
2 large eggs
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon fresh lemon zest
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice  (approximately 1 large lemon)
1/4 cup icing sugar  (for sprinkling on top)

Begin with the crust.  Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Add 1 cup of flour and the pinch of salt.  Mix well until dough starts to come together.  It's OK if the dough is a little crumbly.

Grease an 8x8 inch pan and line with parchment paper, letting the paper hang over the sides a little. This step is important in order to create beautiful squares, as it helps to get the squares out easily.

Spoon the crust mixture into the pan.   Using a measuring cup or your fingers, lightly press the crust down into the bottom of the pan, ensuring it covers the bottom equally.   It's OK if a little more crust mixture gets into the corners or up the sides - these are the best pieces.  Bake for 15 to 18 minutes in a preheated 350 degree oven until just browned around the edges.  The crust will go back in the oven to bake with the topping, so be sure not to overbake at this stage of the game.

While you are waiting for the crust to bake, prepare the lemon filling.  In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs and sugar until well combined.  Add in the flour, lemon juice, and zest and whisk until blended.

Once the crust is ready, remove from oven and let cool slightly. Pour the filling over the warm (but not hot) baked crust. Return to the oven and bake for 18 to 20 minutes.  The squares should be just lightly browned on top and no longer jiggly in the centre. 

Sift icing sugar (about a 1/4 of a cup, or to your liking) over top as soon as you remove from the oven, so it will stick nicely.   Allow to cool completely in the pan.  (Yes. You have to wait. Don't ruin the beautiful squares). Run a knife around the edges of the pan. Slice lemon bars into nine large squares or 12 smaller squares. Use the over hanging parchment paper to lift the squares out. 

Squares store well for several days between layers of waxed paper, and freeze well for 1-2 weeks, wrapped tightly. 

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