April 10, 2010

Luscious Lemon Squares

I recently acquired a very special treat, especially for those of us living in the northeast: lemons freshly picked from the backyard.  A family friend generously shared her shipment of hand picked lemons sent to her from a relative living in the southwest.  What better way to honor such a unique and truly appreciated luxury than to make this bright yellow present into lemon squares?

Lemon squares have a unique texture – slightly gelatinous, slightly chewy and slightly crusty.  I didn’t plan to experiment with my own recipe and found a simple recipe from Everyday Food.  Of course, even the best intended plans can fall apart without sufficient preparation, and that’s where I found myself about halfway through the recipe.  As I reached into the refrigerator to grab four eggs, I screeched when I realized that I only had three!  Moments later, I gasped when I ran out of cornstarch.  So I decided to gow with the flow and modify the original recipe to add my own twist  The result is a moist, chewy and not too tart square of lemony deliciousness.  I know you’ll agree, it is a suitably scrumptious homage to lemons everywhere.

Luscious Lemon Squares
¾ cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup confectioners’ sugar
3 tbs cornstarch
¼ tsp salt
½ cup butter, cold, cut into small pieces

Lemon Gooeyness
3 large eggs
¾ cup sugar plus 2 tbs sugar
2/3 cup fresh lemon juice
2 tbs lemon zest
¼ cup all-purpose flour
½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Line a 9-inch square baking pan with parchment paper, leaving a 2-inch overhang on the sides (to easily remove the baked squares). Set aside. Begin by making the crust: combine the flour, confectioners’ sugar, cornstarch and salt.  Add the butter and incorporate with a pastry cutter until it resembles small pea-sized crumbs (or you can use two forks or even a food processor, if you’re lucky enough to own one; avoid using your hands since the heat may soften the butter).  Press the mixture into the bottom and about halfway up the sides of the pan.  Refrigerate for 15 minutes.
After chilling in the refrigerator, bake the crust about 20 minutes or until just lightly browned.  Reduce the oven heat to 325 degrees.

Next, prepare the lemon filling by beating the eggs until thick.  Add all of the sugar, lemon juice, zest, flour, baking powder and salt.  Beat until combined, then pour into the pan with the warm crust.  Bake for 20 minutes, or until set.  Cool to room temperature, then refrigerator for at least an hour.

Using the overhanging parchment paper, gently lift the whole lemon square out of the pan.  Cut into squares (16 smallish squares or 9 large squares for a true indulgence).  If desired, sift additional confectioners’ sugar over the top for visual appeal and a sweet bite.  Enjoy!


  1. Those look delicious!

  2. You have a blog and you don't tell me. I want some of these lemon squares!


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