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The filling for these squares is a homemade lemon curd — thick, smooth, lemony and buttery. It can also be spread on flaky scones or layered in cakes. Although the lemon filling remains soft even when cold, it holds its shape when the squares are cut. Meyer lemons, prized for their sweet flavor and flowery fragrance, are used in this recipe, but common lemons like Eurekas can also be substituted.
Meyer Lemon Squares
3/4 cup (4 oz./125 g.) all-purpose flour
1/4 cup (1 oz./30 g.) confectioners’ sugar, plus more for dusting
1/8 tsp. kosher salt
12 Tbs. (6 oz./185 g.) cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
2 Tbs. pine nuts, lightly toasted
3 large whole eggs, plus 3 large egg yolks
3/4 cup (6 fl. oz./180 ml.) fresh Meyer lemon juice, strained (about 5 lemons)
1 cup (8 oz./250 g.) granulated sugar
1 tsp. grated Meyer lemon zest
Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Butter an 8-inch (20-cm.) square baking pan. To make the crust, combine the flour, 1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar and the salt in a food processor and pulse a few times until blended. Add 6 tablespoons (3 oz./90 g.) of the butter and pulse 6-8 times until the mixture forms large, coarse crumbs the size of small peas. Stir in the pine nuts.
Press the crumb mixture into the bottom and 1 inch (2.5 cm.) up the sides of the prepared pan. Bake the crust until golden and the top feels firm when lightly touched, about 15 minutes. Reduce the heat to 325°F (165°C).
In the top of a double boiler, whisk together the whole eggs, egg yolks, lemon juice and granulated sugar until the sugar dissolves. Place over (not touching) barely simmering water and add the remaining 6 tablespoons butter. Using a large spoon, stir constantly until the butter melts and the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of the spoon and registers 160°F (71°C) on an instant-read thermometer, about 12 minutes. Remove from over the water and strain the lemon curd through a medium-mesh sieve placed over a bowl. Stir in the lemon zest. Let cool for 10 minutes.
Pour the lemon curd over the baked crust. Bake until the center is set, 13-17 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool for about 20 minutes, then cover and refrigerate until chilled, at least 3 hours or up to overnight. The filling will thicken as it cools.
Just before serving, sift a thick layer of confectioners’ sugar over the top. Cut into squares and serve. Makes 9-12 squares.
Find more mouthwatering ways to end a meal in our cookbook Dessert of the Day, by Kim Laidlaw.