To combat the minimal lemoniness in the original, I added the zest of all the lemons I'd be using for juice to the recipe (5 lemons' worth in the filling, the remainder in the crust). I had no use for an extra yolk after using it's white for glazing the base, so it went into the custard along with a spoonful of custard powder and a pinch of salt. I reduced the sugar slightly to enhance the brightness of the citrus too. In retrospect, I would have made a 3/4 batch of the shortbread for the base instead of the full amount too - since you can see in the photos that the filling isn't overly thick by comparison. Even with the too-thick crust, I was immensely pleased with what came out of my oven - it reminded me of the lemon bars we would buy from a roadside farm and bakery stand on summer road trips in my childhood, but more refined and (dare I say) better! They're not cloying at all, and actually help cut through the stodgy heat and humidity of the Summer air before a rainstorm.
Tangy Lemon Squares
Makes 20 squares
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 cup flour
3.5 oz non-hydrogenated shortening
zest of 1 lemon
1/2 tbsp lemon juice
1 egg white, for glazing
1 egg yolk
1 1/4 cup superfine (instant dissolving) sugar
zest of 6 lemons
1 tbsp flour
1 tbsp custard powder (like Bird's)
3/4 cup fresh lemon juice (about 6 lemons)
- Preheat the oven to 350F and generously grease an 8" square pan.
- In a coffee grinder, process the sugar to a fine powder. Add to a bowl with the flour and nutmeg.
- Add the shortening and blend with a fork or pastry blender until crumbly, then add the vanilla and water and mix until the dough comes together.
- Press into the bottom of the pan and brush generously with the egg white.
- Bake 25 minutes. Remove from oven (leave oven on) and place into the freezer for 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, in a large bowl, beat together the eggs, egg yolk, sugar, lemon zest, flour, custard powder, salt and lemon juice.
- Pour onto the base.
- Bake for 35-40 minutes, until the top is set and golden.
- Cool to room temperature, then cover and chill overnight before cutting and serving.
Total Fat: 5.7 g
Cholesterol: 46.3 mg
Sodium: 17.7 mg
Total Carbs: 20.9 g
Dietary Fiber: 0.2 g
Protein: 2.3 g