Wednesday, April 20, 2011

the best lemon squares

I've been longing for some yellow lately- maybe it's the snow that will. not. stop. falling, I don't know but I'm desperate for spring- and that desperation is coming out in a desire to make something yellow- something like a banner or a quilt or a dress that is gloriously sun coloured. As my studio is currently the site of the great the un-junking of the veranda- I settled for these lemon squares- from Martha Stewart. They're perfect as far as lemon squares go- slightly gooey and sweet- but tart enough to pucker your mouth just a little bit, and the almonds really add something to the flavour.

I usually don't love Martha's recipes- they're beautifully photographed, and all that- and the magazines do inspire me to try to make it- but usually the steps are so spelled out it can seem daunting; instead of making a complex thing seem simple- I find that her directions often make a simple thing seem overly complex. But this recipe is not like that- it's simple- and I did it with N, and we had a blast- I let her crumble in the butter with her hands and help pat the crumbs in to baking dish- it's a perfect not fussy baking with kids recipe, and it's fast too.

Elke Wood's Lemon Squares

from Martha Stewart Living, April 2003

Makes 1 dozen three-inch squares

This recipe is from an aunt of Heidi Johannsen, senior associate food editor at Martha Stewart Living.

1 ¾ cups sifted all-purpose flour

1/3 cup sifted confectioners’ sugar

¼ teaspoon salt

¾ cup (1 ½ sticks) chilled unsalted butter, cut into pieces, plus more for baking dish

1 teaspoon plus 1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest

1/3 cup almonds, toasted and chopped

2 cups granulated sugar

4 large eggs, beaten

½ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

½ teaspoon baking powder

1 - Preheat oven to 350. Into a medium bowl, sift together 1 ½ cups flour, the confectioners’ sugar, and the salt. Cut in the butter, 1 teaspoon zest, and almonds until mixture just clings together.

2 - Press mixture into a lightly buttered 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Bake until just firm and lightly golden, about 20 minutes. Let cool slightly before filling.

3 - In a large nonreactive bowl, stir together the granulated sugar, eggs, lemon juice, baking powder, and remaining ¼ cup flour and tablespoon zest until combined. Pour into prepared crust.

4 - Bake until filling is set and lightly browned, 25 to 30 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool. Cut into squares.

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