Lemon Squares

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April showers bring May flowers... boy, you are not kidding.  The amount of rain we have had over the past week has caused road closures, flooding, and school closures (that's a new one).  Needing a little sunshine in life, I thought I would bring in a sun-kissed baked good.  

There are countless lemon bar/square recipes out there, but this one is spot on.  It has a simple shortbread crust and the filling is somewhere between lemon curd and lemon custard.  It is a perfect balance of tart and sweet.  The filling bakes up with a very thin, meringue-like top.  This layer provides texture, giving these bars three distinct levels that you will be happy to ponder while enjoying the lemony taste .  A little dusting of confectioners' sugar and these little bars of bliss are ready to chase away any rainy day blues.
Printable Recipe

Lemon Squares
makes 24 squares

For the Crust
1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
6 ounces (12 Tablespoons) unsalted butter, cold and cut into 1/2-inch pieces

For the Filling
6 extra large eggs
3 cups granulated sugar
1 cup plus 2 Tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
Confectioners' sugar for dusting

For the Crust
Preheat the oven to 325º F.  In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the flour, sugar, and salt.  Add the butter and continue to mix until the butter is the size of small peas, about 1-2 minutes (the mixture will be dry).  Gently press the mixture evenly onto the bottom of a 9-x13-inch baking pan.  Bake until golden brown, about 20-25 minutes.  Let cool to room temperature.  Reduce the oven temperature to 300º F.

For the Filling
In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs and sugar until smooth.  Stir in the lemon juice and then the flour.  Pour the filling on top of the cooled crust.  Bake until the filling is set, about 40-45 minutes.  Let cool to room temperature and then place in the refrigerator and chill for at least 1 hour, or overnight, before cutting into squares.  Cut into 2-inch squares and dust the tops with confectioners' sugar. Enjoy!

Source: Adapted from Classic Stars Desserts, by Emily Luchetti


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