Monday, 17 December 2012

Luscious Lemon Square

I was walking through Costco a few weeks ago and got really excited when I saw they had in cases of Meyer Lemons. I've heard so much about them, but I've never seen anyone get them in. So I scooped up a case with the intentions of making lemon curd with them. Well, they sat in the garage for a while and I went about my Christmas Baking, until one day I realized in a panic, I'd pulled all my Christmas Recipes, but I'd forgotten one very important one, Lemon Square! Then I got really excited because I knew I had these untouched Meyer Lemons just waiting to be used, and really, I needed to make something else besides curd, because I don't need 18 Lemons worth of curd. Then the harsh reality struck. You need an oven for Lemon Square.

No big deal, after months of the new oven being on back order, it was supposed to arrive in a weeks time. It didn't. Then we finally bought the same one from a different store and it was supposed to come in a weeks time. It did. But the delivery people didn't leave it because it was damaged. I think a few people were about to strangle a few other people if you know what I mean. Anyway, a few days after the latest disaster, I came home and we had a new oven. The store had loaned us a floor model until they could get us our actual oven. Thank god is all I can say.

To give you an example of how excited I was (and still am), last night I got home from an 8 hour shift at five o'clock. I was feeling really sick all day at work, but when I got home I felt perfectly normal (strangely enough). So I set out on a spree to finish up the Christmas Baking (I would have succeeded if I hadn't have ran out of Worcestershire Sauce, and then at eleven o'clock started feeling really sick again). I dusted the lemon squares that I'd made the night more, I cut them, photographed them and packaged them up. I defrosted my spiral cookies, cut them, photographed them and baked them. I then tossed together another batch of bits and bites but ran out of the sauce part way through so I had to abandon my efforts with only part of that batch baked. And, I dipped 160 Buck Eyes. By eleven o'clock my back hurt, I felt sick, tired and my hands were so cracked and sore from washing them too many times that I gave up and went to bed leaving a stack of dishes a mile high. But it was a successful effort.

Back to the Lemon Square and the Meyer Lemons. I knew everyone said these lemons didn't have the tartness of other lemons. After making both this square and my curd with them, I have to say they are definitely good, but as a true lemon lover, I think I'd like to stay with the bit of a kick that the traditional lemon offers. I'm really glad I tried them though, they just changed the flavours of these things a little bit too much. But, that being said, these were things I love for what they were before. Maybe if I made something utterly new with the Meyer Lemons, and didn't have anything to compare it to, I would enjoy them. Until then, I think I'll just stay with the typical lemon.

This recipe came from my next door neighbour. I have included the single batch recipe (makes 1 - 9x13 pan) with the crust doubled for extra thickness. Because this is a favourite every Christmas, I ended up doubling it again and making 2 trays.

Makes 30 squares.


1 C. Butter, softened
1 C. White Sugar
1 Lemon, zest
2 1/2 C. Flour

Lemon Layer
4 Eggs
1 2/3 C. White Sugar
3 Tbsp. Flour
1/2 Tsp. Baking Powder
1/2 Lemon, zest
6 Tbsp. Lemon Juice (Juice of 2 Lemons)
1 Tsp. Vanilla Extract

Icing Sugar


~In a medium bowl, cream butter, sugar and lemon peel.
~Gradually stir in flour to form a soft crumble dough. (Very important**Make sure there is no clumps of butter, otherwise when you bake it, you'll get pits in your crust were the butter chunk melted)
~Press evenly into the bottom of a greased 9x13 baking dish and pack down very firmly with your hands.
~Bake at 350 F for 15 minutes, or until crust just begins to take on a golden colour around the edges

Lemon Layer
~While crust is baking, in a large bowl, whisk eggs well.
~In a separate bowl, stir together sugar, flour and baking powder.
~Gradually whisk the sugar mixture into the eggs.
~Whisk in lemon zest, juice and vanilla and then pour evenly over hot crust and return to oven.
~Bake for 20-25 minutes or until top is lightly browned (if you have a hotter oven like I used to, you might want to bake at 350 F for 10 minutes then reduce heat to 300 F after that, to prevent it from browning too much - I didn't have to do this though with my new / temp. oven)
~Once cooled, sprinkle top with icing sugar (by placing a small amount of sugar in a sieve and tapping gently over top the bars).
~Cut into bars or squares.


**If you don't want the thicker crust as I have described (or you don't have enough ingredients on hand for a spur of the moment baking extravaganza), you can simply half the crust ingredients to return this recipe to it's normal amounts (don't half the Lemon Layer as it was never doubled).

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