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Sunday, January 25, 2009

Good Dinner Guests Bring Dessert – Part Two: Lemon Squares

There is something inherently comforting about old school desserts like brownies, chocolate chip cookies and lemon squares. For me, they evoke a time when our sweet cravings were satisfied by something simple, and more Betty Crocker like before we ate molten chocolate cakes, brules, and other seemingly fancier desserts.

Truth be told, I don’t really have a sweet tooth. I prefer a crusty baguette with a really nice butter to something sweet or chocolatey. But when I crave something sweet, this is what I crave. We have a bakery down the street that sells these humble little bars drizzled with white chocolate. Unfortunately, these bars rarely scratch the itch for me. There is not enough lemon curd and not nearly enough lemon flavour. While this bakery makes a mean mincemeat pie at Christmas, I have to turn to my own kitchen for a proper lemon square.

This is also one of my stand-by desserts to bring to a casual dinner party.

They are homey and unfussy but well plated, they look fancy enough for the occasion. I bring my shaker of icing sugar for plating and some fruit (I like blackberries) and you have dessert.

(This is also a great way to get rid of the three egg yolks if you made this.)

Lemon Squares

1 cup flour less 2 tbsp
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup cornmeal or crushed pistachios
4 tbsp icing sugar
1/2 cup butter
3 whole egg
3 egg yolk
1 1/3 cups sugar
4 tbsp 35% cream
juice of 1 large lemon*
Zest from 1 large lemon
1 tsp baking powder

Preheat oven to 350 F and butter and line the bottom of a 8 x 8-inch baking pan with parchment paper
Combine flour, salt, cornmeal (crushed pistachios) and icing sugar. Using a pastry blender, cut in butter until the dough is crumbly
Press dough into pan, trying to ensure the crust is even throughout. Bake crust for about 18 minutes until the edges look golden. Set crust aside to cool
Whisk the together the eggs, egg yolks, sugar, cream, juice, zest and baking powder until smooth. Carefully pour the filling into the cooled crust
Bake for approximately 25 minutes until set (the top will be slightly golden - do not overcook)
Cool at room temperature then chill in the fridge
Cut into squares and dust with icing sugar

*I have also made this recipe using limes (needs about 3 limes)


Vinosister said...

OMG! These sound fantastic!
I LOVE Lemon squares but I'm interested in trying them with lime.

Ingrid said...

Yum, love lemon desserts! Yours bars look wonderful. I prefer homemade tarter ones than the bakery ones that tend to be more sweet.

Hungry Gal said...

@ Vinosister

Lime squares are awesome. It's tart and lovely and a little different. Thanks for stopping by.

@ Ingrid
I love lemon tarts that induce a puckered lemon face. By the way, I love your blog. Drool worthy!

Parker said...

They look great. Lemon is one of my favorites in dessert, so refreshing and light.

Anonymous said...

yum, I'd choose lemon squares over brownies any day!

V said...

Awww.. this looks truly refreshing! I'll try it out. Thanks!

V said...

Hi, I finally tried your recipe. IT WAS SO GOOD! I finished two bars while standing over the kitchen counter 'checking out' the result. It's such a perfect summer cake.

A question, as I've actually not eaten one before. Should the top be still wobbly but delicately set (like film over boiled milk) when I deem it finished? Or should I bake it a little longer? I believe the top should not be runny in the end product, right? Mine came out a little runny at the centre.


Hungry Gal said...

@ V

Glad you tried it out... there is a fine line between set and overcooked... I would err on the side of slightly wobbly when you take it out. It should continue to cook out of the oven. But it sounds like you could have left yours in the oven for another minute or two. Every oven is different and both weather and altitude have an effect on baking times.

V said...

Thanks. Will try it again this weekend!

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