Shortcut Lemon Squares: Tangy Pie Filling In A Buttery Crust

Posted on

These homemade lemon squares are the perfect balance of sweet and tart, with a luscious lemon pie filling nestled within a buttery shortbread crust. Forget store-bought versions – this recipe delivers a burst of sunshine in every bite and is surprisingly simple to make!

Gathering Your Ingredients:

Lemon Pie Bars
Lemon Pie Bars

For the Crust:

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cold and cubed
  • For the Lemon Pie Filling:
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (about 3 lemons)
  • 1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • Pinch of salt

  • Baking Up Perfection:

    1. Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C) and grease a 9×13 inch baking pan.
    2. Making the Crust: In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, powdered sugar, and salt. Using a pastry cutter or your fingertips, work the cold butter into the dry ingredients until crumbly. Press the mixture evenly into the prepared baking pan, creating a firm and even layer along the bottom and slightly up the sides.
    3. Baking the Crust: Bake the crust for 15-20 minutes, or until golden brown around the edges. Remove from the oven and let cool slightly on a wire rack while you prepare the filling.
    4. Creating the Lemon Filling: In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, sugar, lemon juice, lemon zest, flour, and salt until smooth and well combined.
    5. Filling the Crust: Once the crust has cooled slightly, carefully pour the lemon filling over the top. The crust may still be a bit warm, but it shouldn’t be sizzling hot.
    6. Baking the Lemon Squares: Bake the filled pan for 25-30 minutes, or until the filling is set and no longer jiggles in the center. The edges will be slightly golden brown.
    7. Cooling and Cutting: Remove the pan from the oven and let the lemon squares cool completely on a wire rack at room temperature. This is important to ensure the filling sets properly. Once cool, refrigerate the squares for at least 2 hours, or even overnight, for the best texture and flavor.
    8. Serving Up Sunshine: When ready to serve, dust the lemon squares with powdered sugar (optional) and cut into squares. Enjoy these delightful treats with a cup of tea or coffee for a perfect afternoon pick-me-up!

    Nutrition Information (per square):

    Calories: 300 (approx.)

  • Fat: 15g (approx.)
  • Saturated Fat: 8g (approx.)
  • Carbohydrates: 35g (approx.)
  • Sugar: 25g (approx.)
  • Protein: 2g (approx.)

  • Please note: This is an approximate nutritional breakdown and may vary slightly depending on the specific ingredients you use.

    Conclusion:

    These homemade lemon squares are a delightful treat for any lemon lover. They’re perfect for potlucks, bake sales, or simply enjoying a sweet treat at home. With their vibrant citrus flavor and simple preparation, these squares are sure to become a new favorite!

    Frequently Asked Questions:

    1. Can I use bottled lemon juice instead of fresh lemons?

    In a pinch, bottled lemon juice can be used. However, fresh lemon juice offers a brighter and more vibrant flavor. If using bottled juice, try to find a brand with “pulp-free” written on the label to avoid a gritty texture in the filling.

    2. How can I tell when the lemon squares are done baking?

    The best way to tell is by gently shaking the pan – the center of the filling should be slightly set but still have a slight jiggle. If the center is completely solid, it may be overbaked and slightly dry.

    3. My lemon squares seem too tart. What can I do?

    If you find the filling a bit too tart for your taste, you can adjust the amount of lemon juice used next time. Reduce the juice by 1 tablespoon and see if that makes a difference.

    4. How long can I store leftover lemon squares?