We didn’t have lemon squares growing up. It’s one of the few things Mum didn’t make. She’d have loved them. Or at least I think she would have. Making them seemed a little daunting at first. Make the base. Blend the lemon top. Bake it again. What if I over baked the bottom? Or the top wasn’t thick enough? No worries. This is a nice crust that’s light and a smooth lemony top that bake up well.
Lemon Squares are a dessert that stands on its own. It’s not like Dutch apple pie with a Streusel topping or pumpkin pie and its dollop of freshly whipped cream. The lemon portion is firm enough to be taken as a snack. It’s not as delicate as it looks coming fresh and warm from the oven.
The juice in this recipe can be fresh or bottled. I prefer fresh lemon juice but if you don’t have lemons go ahead get the bottle from the fridge. A little fresh lemon zest added to the crust is nice. I have a few citrus trees growing in containers on a west-facing window in the living room. It’s not optimum for them but I’m hoping for fresh lemons and limes in a few years. If I can find one I’m going to add a Pink Lemonade tree to my tiny collection. The leaves are variegated and the fruit striped. The aroma of citrus flowers take me back to childhood when Mum had tiny lemon and orange trees. We couldn’t eat the oranges because they were so extremely horribly oh-my-goodness bitter, but I bet those little lemons would have been nice to cook with!
- 2 cups flour
- 1/2 cup confectioners sugar
- 1 cup butter very cold
- 4 eggs cold, straight from the fridge
- 2/3 cup lemon juice
- 1/4 cup flour
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- confectioners sugar sifted, for the top
- Pre-heat the oven to 350°.
- Sift the flour and confectioners sugar together. Cut the butter into the flour and sugar using a pastry blender, fork, or a knife in each hand. Work quickly. You want the mixture to come together without the butter softening. The steam released during cooking will make the crust lighter.
- Spread the crust over a buttered 9" x 12" baking pan. Bake for 25 minutes.
- Put the eggs, sugar and lemon juice in a blender. Close the lid tightly. Blend until the mixture is smooth and thick. It might take 10 or 15 minutes.
- Sift 1/4 cup flour and baking powder together. Add it to the blender and let it continue to blend only until the flour mixture is incorporated and the liquid is smooth again.
- When the crust has baked for 25 minutes, remove it from the oven and pour the lemon mixture over the top. Smooth it with a spatula and return the baking dish to the oven for another 25 minutes. Remove from the oven when done and let it cool completely.
- Sift more confectioners powder. When the Lemon Squares are cool, sprinkle the top with the sugar. I like a nice thick layer but a slight dusting more for appearance than flavor is also nice.