Friday, May 18, 2012

When Life Gives You Lemons...

I'm not usually a big fan of lemony cookies, but these turned out pretty good. They've got a short bread cookie base that's nice and crumbly and the custard filling isn't too tart (which is my peeve with lemon pastries). I researched a few different recipes before I settled on one that I could work with.

I very rarely take recipes word for word from other sources; either because I disagree with the method, or because I'm working with different core ingredients. There are very few basic recipes out there that I haven't made first hand in the line of duty, so when I research a "new" dish all I'm really looking for are the basic components.

In this case, we're baking a short bread crust into the bottom of a pan and then pouring a lemon custard on top and putting it back in the oven to set. Couldn't be simpler.

Lemon Squares


1/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temp
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
4 eggs
1/4 cup (remaining 1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted
Zest and juice from 3 lemons
1 tablespoon all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Grease a 9x13 inch baking pan.
2. In a mixing bowl, beat together the shortbread ingredients; the batter should be light and fluffy. Scrape the batter out into the prepared pan and smooth it evenly across the bottom.
3. Bake uncovered for 25 minutes, until the crust turns a light golden color and is just firm to the touch.
4. Make the filling while the crust is baking; beat together the eggs and sugar until they are light and fluffy. Beat in the melted butter, lemon juice and zest; when those are fully incorporated, sprinkle the flour and baking powder on the top and mix thoroughly.
5. Remove the pan with the crust from the oven and pour the filling on top. Tap the pan on the table a few times to remove any air bubbles and replace it in the oven for 35 minutes. The top will brown slightly and the filling will be firm (no jiggling) when completely cooked. Remove from the oven and allow it to cool slightly before slicing. Dust a bit of powdered sugar on top while the bars are still warm and allow them to cool completely before removing them from the pan.

Not only did my students like this one, the recipe got passed around the office.


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