This week it's all about some GOOEY lemon squares. These little beauties are so simple to make, only using a few ingredients and the finished product is well - delish! It all starts with a simple baked shortcrust base, a tart, and sweet baked lemon curd, and don't forget a ton of icing sugar on top. Drooling yet? Better read on so 😉
PREGNANCY CRAVINGS - NOT MINE!!!
Our "darling" daughter is 3 and a half now. As some of you may have gathered, I am a stay at home, Dad. My wife is the bread earner, and I'm the homemaker, part-time caterer, and full-time slave to a self-proclaimed princess. Pregnancy addictions are 100% a thing. We lived in NYC when Mrs. AnotherFoodBlogger was pregnant with Olivia. A daily bagel, EVERY dinner with pasta and TONS and TONS of gooey lemon squares were her thing. At first, I was buying them locally, but pretty quickly, I caught on to the need to bake them as she was shoving more into her mouth than I could carry home!!
So, I guess for those of you out there who read this and who make my simple lemon squares recipe, you have her to thank for setting me off on the track!
This is the sheer beauty about making lemon squares - the simplicity. It only requires 6 ingredients to make. 5 of those are ones that pretty much every household has in the pantry/cupboard regularly and the other being lemons, so it's not as if you need to travel far and wide to get hold of them!
Here I use AP (all-purpose) or plain flour. Keep it simple. No need for anything fancy. Currently, at about $1 a pack here in Australia, it doesn't start any more straightforward. We use flour to make the base of the lemon square and once again in the curd mixture. This helps to firm up the mix. Not too much, though - remember they still are GOOEY lemon squares.
The all-important ingredient in baking. We find sugar or sweetness in many forms these days. From raw, brown, granulated, castor to palm sugar, maple syrup, and honey. Once again, keep it simple here and use good old castor sugar for the recipe. Too much sugar and you won't have that lovely tartness you want and too little and, well........ have you ever sucked on a lemon? The other key fact to the sugar content is if reduced, your filling will end up too wet, and these DEFO aren't wet lemon squares! Better not forget about the all-important dusting on top either!
Used in pretty much every type of cooking, its powers are endless. A pinch of salt helps balance out things and not leave you with too sweet a crust.
4 large eggs needed. Without this little beaut, we would have nothing to help set the mixture when we bake it.
Ahhhh, good old butter. It's not just GREAT on toast 😉 You can't really have a good crusty base without it. Make sure the butter isn't too cold, but at the same time, I don't use melted butter. What do they call it - room temperature!
Here we use the zest and the juice. About 4 lemons are all you need but best to have a couple extra just in case. Sure, just whip up a G&T with whatever is left! Zest the lemons first before juicing them. TRUST me, have you ever tried to zest a juiced lemon!!
This is where it begins! It couldn't start any easier to be honest. Flour, sugar, salt & butter chucked into a food processor and blitzed a couple times to bring it together. Confused? I doubt it because that's it. Well, aside from baking it but that part is equally as simple.
Once made butter a 6" x 9" cake tin and line it with parchment paper. I can't stress enough the importance of this. Imagine making these beautiful gooey lemon squares and having them all stick to the tin. Trust me when I say your pregnant wife WON'T be happy #speakingfromexperience. Next, gently push the base down into the tin right out to the edges.
NOW, this is KEY, so pay close attention. Bake it in the oven @ 180c for approx 15 minutes. After 10 minutes, keep an eye on it. Once the edges start to brown up, then it's done. The base will be soft now but let it cool, and it will firm up. DON'T put the curd in until the base has firmed up and set.
They won't be gooey lemon squares without this part, so DEFO don't skip this step 😉 Once again simple is the name of the game here. In fact, it's so simple that my 3.5 years old made this batch. Just chuck the eggs, flour, sugar, zest, and juice into a large mixing bowl and whisk it up. NO LUMPS is the aim of the game here. Once the base has cooled and set, then pour the curd mixture on top and into the oven for 30-35 minutes @ 180c. These ones were baked for 32 minutes. They had a beautiful crust on top, and the filling was set. Let them cool outside the fridge, and once cool, let them chill in the fridge before icing and slicing.
It doesn't get any more important than this. If you don't let the base cool and set, the curd mix will just go straight through, and then well, to be honest, I don't really want to find out. Secondly, the curd mix. If you don't leave them to cool, the curd won't set correctly, and you will be left with the majority of the warm curd mixture just leaking out the sides once you cut into it. For me, I allow it too cool naturally and then into the fridge for at least an hour. It's TOUGH not to cut in asap, but the lemon squares will have better structure if you wait and are 100% worth it.
HOW DO I KNOW MY LEMON SQUARES ARE SET
Good Q and defo one that took me a little practice to master. Firstly you can tell how they are going by the top. You want a nice golden crust on top but a light golden colour. Secondly, once you have got that beautiful golden colour on top, give it the wiggle test. Gentle here, though. There should be a little wiggle left in it, so don't fear, but there is a defo difference between the curd wiggling and it running from side to side. Just remember they will set more once cooled and placed in the fridge. Truthfully, the gooeyness of a lemon square is quite personal, so you will find that it may take a couple goes for you to find the sweet time it takes you and your oven. Not too big a complaint as you get to feast on lemon squares regularly until you get it right!!
CAN YOU FREEZE GOOEY LEMON SQUARES
Sure can. Truthfully, I haven't EVER had the need to. They keep nicely in the fridge for 3 - 4 days, and when you and your partner chomp on 2 a day well, they don't last too long. If freezing them, you would want to cook them a little longer, so they are firmer to the touch. In fact, they actually taste pretty good frozen - especially in the 40c summers of Queensland
OTHER SIMPLE DESSERTS
MOREISH Chocolate Brownies by yours truly
Easy Chocolate Pudding by Marcela Cantatore of 'Marcellina in Cucuina'
Crunchy No Bake Peanut Butter Bars by Sylvie Gruber of 'A Baking Journey'
Keto Coffee Fat Bombs - Tiramisu Cheesecake Bites by Megan Ellam of 'Mad Creations Hub'
Gluten Free Lemon Madeleines by Alexandra Cook of 'It's Not Complicated Recipes'
Mixed Berry Cheesecake Slice by Keely Spencer of 'KJS Food Journal'
Happy Cooking and Happy Eating Friends!!!
- 113 g unsalted butter room temp
- 60 g castor sugar
- 132 g plain flour
- 1 pinch salt
- 4 eggs
- 2 tbsp lemon zest approx 4 lemons
- 88 g plain flour
- 420 g castor sugar
- 160 ml lemon juice approx 4 lemons
- icing sugar for dusting
- Preheat the oven to 180c
- Butter a 6' x 9" baking dish. Line it with parchment paper and set aside
- Combine butter and sugar and mix together in food processor
- Add flour & salt and combine
- Flatten mixture into pre-lined baking dish and bake for 15-20 minutes and crust is slightly brown around edges *see blog post above*
- Allow to cool completely
- Whisk together all ingredients insuring there are no lumps
- Pour mixture on top of cooled crust and bake in the oven for 30 - 35 minutes *see blog post above*
- Allow to cool completely *see blog post above*
- Dust with icing sugar and cut - DEMOLISH!!
- measuring utensils
- baking tray
- food processor
- parchment paper