Saturday, 24 December 2005

Lemon Squares

Lemon Squares
I don't know about you, but this icing sugar-dusted lemon squares sure makes me hear Bing Crosby's White Christmas in the background. I've been wanting to make these bars ever since I saw it in Moira's blog early in the year though it's only now that I found an excuse due to a glut of lemons that I really don't want to throw in the bin.

If we dissect these delectable little things, we find that it's essentially lemon curd on top of shortbread. Lovely contrast of sour-sweet topping with the crumbly bottom crust. Very very nice. Hmmm...

The original recipe from Moira can be found here, though I've changed just two things in it - the baking time (30 minutes) and the cutting of the butter in the flour (I forgot to freeze it).

Let me take this opportunity to give a very big thank you to Moira for sharing her heirloom family recipe.

Lemon Squares

2 cups flour
1/2 cup sifted icing sugar (confectioner's)
250 g  [1 cup] butter - frozen

* Filling:
4 eggs - beaten
2 cups sugar
1/3 cup lemon juice
2 tsp lemon zest
1/4 cup flour
1/2 tsp baking powder

extra icing sugar for dusting
  • Preheat oven to 350°F/180°C/fan 160°C/gas mark 4.
  • Lightly butter a 9 x 13-inch baking dish and line with parchment paper.
  • For the crust:
    1. Combine the dry ingredients together in a large bowl.
    2. Grate the frozen butter (using the large holes of a box grater) into the dry mixture. Or if you forgot to freeze the butter, cut it in the flour mixture with a pastry mixer or two butter knives.
    3. Toss the butter pieces to coat, then rub between your fingers until the flour turns into a coarse breadcrumb-like texture.
    4. Put the mixture into the lined pan and press firmly with your fingers to form an even crust.
    5. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until golden brown.
  • For the filling:
    1. Mix the eggs, sugar, flour and baking powder together in a medium bowl.
    2. Add the lemon juice and zest and combine well.
    3. Pour mixture into the pan on top of the warm crust.
  • Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until the filling feels firm when touched lightly.
  • Transfer the pan to a wire rack and cool for 30 minutes.
  • Grasp the parchment and carefully lift the bars onto a cutting board.
  • Cut into serving size squares or bars, wiping your knife clean between cuts if necessary. Remove the parchment paper after cutting.
  • Sift icing sugar over bars and serve.

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