Lemon Squares

These luscious lemon squares are the perfect balance of tart and sweet and pack a nice punch of lemon flavour. They are super simple to make and are perfect for hot weather baking and even better enjoyed after some time chilling the fridge.

After months of self-isolating, we were finally able to have another family over to visit and for the kids to play. My kids were thrilled but I was even happier, I felt like Mrs. Potts from Beauty and the Beast trying to decide what snack I could easily serve outside with minimal touching. Enter one of my favourites; lemon squares. They have a rich buttery shortbread crust and a creamy, tart, lemon filling dusted with icing sugar. Your kids will love these!

HOW TO MAKE THE CRUST

Start by getting a 9×13 pan and lining it with parchment paper, leaving a generous overhang on both long sides of the pan.

In a large bowl mix the flour, salt, and granulated sugar whisking to combine.

Next, add the softened butter and using a pastry cutter, or your hands, work the butter into the flour mixture. Don’t overwork it, you can tell it’s ready when it looks crumbly but holds together if squeezed in your hand.

The crust is ready to be put into the parchment-lined pan, evenly pour the crumb mixture over the bottom then use your hands to gently press the pastry down into a uniform layer that evenly covers the bottom of the pan.

Now use a fork to poke all over the pastry, this prevents air bubbles while baking, then place the prepared crust in a preheated oven and bake until just starting to turn golden.

HOW TO MAKE LEMON FILLING

Add the sugar and zest of three lemons to a bowl. Work the lemon zest into the granulated sugar. This massaging helps the zest release it’s oils and results in an even stronger lemon flavour.

Once you’ve done that add the freshly squeezed lemon juice, flour, and eggs, whisk well to make sure everything is while combined.

HOW TO ASSEMBLE

Once the pastry bottom has turned golden brown remove it from the oven, but don’t turn the oven off. Now take the prepared lemon filling and pour it over the hot crust.

Place the lemon bars back into the oven and bake again until the center has set and is no longer wobbly. Remove from the oven and set on a wire rack to cool.

Once cooled remove the lemon squares from the pan. I do this by running a sharp knife on the outside of the pan to make sure there are no spots sticking, then use the overhanging sides of the parchment to lift the squares up and out of the pan. Place on a wired rack to finish cooling.

Once the lemon squares have cooled to room temperature slice them up into equal pieces. Then place in the fridge to chill.

If you prefer them room temp you can dust them with icing sugar now and enjoy. I prefer to chill them first, I also find the icing sugar doesn’t absorb into the bar if they’ve chilled in the fridge before you dust them.

Your lemon squares are ready to be enjoyed, and I almost guarantee you will be able to eat more than one of these lemony bars!

HOW TO STORE THEM

If you manage to have any leftover they keep well in the fridge for about 5 days in an airtight container. They also freeze perfectly for up to 3 months, also in airtight containers or individually wrapped in plastic.

For Christmas baking, I freeze the pan of squares before I cut them and wrap in plastic wrap. Then when it’s time to serve take them out of the freezer to thaw, cut, and dust with icing sugar as if you just made them.

Look at these squares socially distancing to set a good example for our guests 😉

Lemon Squares

Ingredients:

Crust:

  • 1 cup butter, soften in microwave
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 cups, plus 2 tbsp all-purpose flour

Filling:

  • 6 large eggs
  • 3 cups granulated sugar
  • zest of 3 lemons
  • 2/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2/3 cup all-purpose flour

Preparation:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line a 9X13 pan with parchment paper, leaving an overhang.
  2. Make the crust by adding the granulated sugar, flour, and salt to a bowl then whisk to combine.
  3. Add the softened butter to the flour mixture stirring to combine, until mixture is crumbly but holds together when pressed.
  4. Pour the pastry into the prepared pan then use your fingers to spread it into an even layer covering the bottom. 
  5. Poke the crust all over with a fork then place in preheated oven and bake for about 20 minutes, or just golden brown.
  6. While crust is baking prepare the lemon filling. Add the granulated sugar and lemon zest to a bowl, stirring to combine.
  7. Add the eggs, lemon juice, and flour then whisk to fully combine.
  8. Remove the baked pastry from the oven and pour the lemon mixture over the hot crust.
  9. Return the pan to the preheated oven and bake for about 25-30 minutes, or until the centre has just set.
  10. Remove from the oven and allow to cool. 
  11. Once cooled to room temperature remove the bars from the pan and then slice into equal pieces then refrigerate to chill.
  12. Dust with icing sugar and enjoy.

 

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