I have been on the hunt for the ultimate lemon square recipe for a while. My aunt Jean has a kick ass recipe. Sorry this isn't it. I got the chocolate marshmallow brownies from her but not the lemon squares just yet. I have my own recipe, no bad but meh.... This is from a co worker. Of course when I made it it didn't turn out like hers but, still a keeper. I just need to fiddle with it a little more to perfect it.
Getting recipes from some one who makes it all the time can be a bit of a crap shoot. They know their oven, what they use, how they prepare it so often recipes lack a few of the specifics that can make or break your efforts. This is no exception.
The first time I made this, it was lemon fruit leather you could roll off the crust it was so over cooked. That fruit leather was still pretty tasty so I tried again, then a third time. That's the charm right? I still haven't quite perfected it but here goes, as I got it, with my notes to follow.
2 cups of sifted flour
1 cup of icing sugar
1 cup of butter melted
1 1/2 cups of sugar
1 teaspoon of baking powder
1/4 cup of flour
a little over a half a cup of fresh lemon juice
zest for decorating
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Grease a baking pan
In a medium bowl, stir together 2 cups flour and the icing sugar.
Blend in melted butter.
Press into bottom of the prepared pan and bake in preheated oven for 15 minutes or until golden brown.
In a large bowl, beat eggs until light.
Combine sugar, baking powder and 1/4 cup of flour.
Stir the sugar mixture into the eggs.
Finally, stir in the lemon juice.
Pour over baked crust and return to oven.
Bake for an additional 30 minutes or until bars are set.
Allow to cool completely before cutting.
Now for my notes.
A baking pan-I used an 8x11 1/2 and am wondering if next time I would try a 9x13. The crust was a tad thick for my liking, but only just so...
1 cup of butter melted- I used butter and butter and margarine, half and half. No one could tell the difference. You could probably get away with a good soy margarine on its own.
Beat eggs until light.-I took that to mean texture, ie fluffy. I'm thinking it just means colour, as in just beat the eggs don't whip them. I'll explain a bit further on.
1 teaspoon of baking powder- I'm not sure what the baking powder does in the lemon custard. I think it is a sub for cream of tartar to stabilize it. You could use 1/4 teaspoon of that instead. Again I'll explain a little further down the line.
a little over a half a cup of fresh lemon juice- I used 3/4 of a cup, but I really like it tart. I also reduced the sugar by 1/4 cup and added 1 tablespoon of zest to the custard for added lemony goodness. All of the above can be adjusted for your own personal taste.
Bake for an additional 30 minutes or until bars are set. My oven runs hot, 30 minutes was way too long. The custard also browned and it shouldn't. I reduced my heat to 325 degrees and it didn't colour any further, so...
1 The oven is too hot-cook the custard at 325 degrees
2 The eggs are frothy, or over beaten. A thin layer of froth on the custard is what browned so if I hadn't whipped them there would have been no froth.
3 Swap the baking powder for 1/4 teaspoon of cream of tartar. Baking powder can cause browning, can't remember why, I believe it is the baking soda in it. No soda, no browning.
The picture is a variation, Strawberry Lemon Squares. My strawberries are coming in so I added them on top of the cooked crust and poured the custard over top. Delicious, strawberry lemonade in a bar. You could also add blueberries.
Because of the extra moisture in the berries, cook a bit longer. With the berries in, I did use the full 30 minutes. The edges should be firm but the centre should still jiggle when you take it out of the oven. It will set as it cools.
I have a good Key Lime Square recipe but I would like to try this recipe with grapefruit juice or blood orange. I think it would work and I love the taste of citrus. We'll see.
Although it has given me a bit of trouble, this is still a great recipe. Give it a try and let me know what you think. Don't forget to drop by and see what Susi has in the oven. Enjoy.