Another American favourite I have always wanted to try is Lemon Squares. I’m a big fan of a lemon tarts and lemon meringue pie, so I figured that these bars would be right up my alley. And boy was I right! They feature a soft and gooey lemon filling on top of a buttery shortbread base. A little lemon tang without being sour, they are just perfect for a sweet treat! They are quite easy to put together. I used Mel’s Kitchen Cafe recipe for the Perfect Lemon Bars, but adapted it slightly for Australian bakers. Simply make the shortbread biscuit base and then bake it until golden brown. Then you whisk together the ingredients for the lemon curd and bake again until slightly firm to touch. Sprinkled with icing sugar, it really makes quite a pretty slice.
Makes approximately 16 small squares
1 and 3/4 cup plain flour
2/3 cup icing sugar, plus extra for decorating
1/4 cup corn flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
160 grams (12 tablespoons) unsalted butter, room temperature
4 large eggs
1 and 1/3 cup caster sugar
3 tablespoons plain flour
2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
2/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice, from 4 to 5 lemons
1/3 cup milk
Pinch of salt
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees (360 F) . Grease and line your baking tin with baking paper. The original recipe calls for a large rectangular tin, but I just used my regular 20cm x 20cm (8 inch) square tin. I cooked the bars for a little bit longer and it made slightly higher and thicker squares.
In a large mixing bowl, stir together the flour, icing sugar, corn flour and salt. Cut the butter into rough 1cm squares and throw into the bowl. Using your fingers, rub the butter into the flour mixture until its combined and a dough is formed. Place the dough into the prepared tin and press down gently with the back of a tablespoon spoon, until an even layer is formed. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown.
Meanwhile, whisk together the eggs, sugar and flour in a medium bowl, then stir in the lemon zest, lemon juice and milk. Pour the filling onto the warm crust, reduce the oven to 160 degrees (320 F) and pop back into the oven for 20 minutes or until the filling feels slightly firm to the touch. Cool the bars to room temperature, sprinkle with additional icing sugar and cut into bars.
Source: Adapted from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe recipe for the Perfect Lemon Bars