Monday, April 23, 2012

Turbinado Sugar Lemon Squares

Recipe for Turbinado Sugar Lemon Squares

Preface: We have been watching a lot of Queer As Folk.  The Liberty Diner, where the gang is wont to while away the pre-clubbing, evening hours, is famous for its lemon squares which Deb offers up as a cure-all.  Every time these come across the screen, I find myself desperately craving them, washed down with the obligatory Jones Soda with its label strategically hidden.

This recipe is based on Lemon Bars on Smitten Kitchen.  I halved the recipe because there are only two of us to eat them.  They are very brown because we use mostly turbinado sugar in our household.

A quick note on cooking with a lemon: Lick it.  That's right.  Before you do anything with your lemon, cut it in half and lick it.  Some lemons are stronger than others, some are surprisingly bitter (which you would do well to just toss and grab another).  Adjust the measurements for juice based on how strong your lemon tastes.

A note on small batch pan size: Unless you have a very small baking sheet or pan (about 9x7.5 inches) you will have to make do by lining a larger pan with parchment paper and creating an extra wall.  You could also use heavy duty aluminum foil for this purpose, though I'm always afraid of it sticking to my food.

Turbinado Sugar Lemon Squares

For the Shortbread Crust:
1/2 cup butter (room temp.)
1/4 cup icing sugar
1 cup flour
Pinch of salt

For the Lemon Curd Layer:
3 eggs
zest of two lemon
3/4 cup turbinado sugar
1/3 cup juice (about the juice of one and a half lemons)
1/3 cup flour

Additional icing sugar for dusting

Make the shortbread crust as follows:

Using an electric mixer, cream butter and icing sugar on high until pale and fluffy.

In a separate bowl, mix flour and salt.  Gradually add to butter mixture while mixing on low, until just combined.  The dough may be very crumbly.  Using hands, gather together into a ball.  Do not overwork or dough will become too soft.  

Place ball in the middle of prepared pan and squash down.  Press dough into corners and flatten with hands.  Refrigerate for 30 minutes.  Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350 F (170 C).

Remove from refrigerator and bake 15-20 minutes, until just barely browned.  Remove but do not turn off oven.

While the crust bakes, prepare lemon curd layer.  In a large bowl, combine eggs, zest, and lemon juice.  Whisk with a fork.  Gradually add flour and whisk until no clumps remain.

Pour lemon curd over crust and bake 25-30 minutes.  Check to make sure that the curd layer has set and return to over for about 5 more minutes.  Let cool completely.  Cut into squares.

Before serving, dust with icing sugar.

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