It’s hard to believe summer is already so close, it seems like spring was just starting. Do you ever get used to time flying? It especially doesn’t help that everyone is jumping the shark to get to summer, myself included. I just the other day wrote Summer Vegetables onto a menu rather than Spring Vegetables, consciously deciding to make the move. Popsicles are in the freezer, the beach bag is packed, coolers are rinsed out, beach chairs pulled down from the attic, and plenty of summer menus planned. As I jumped the shark to summer in menu writing, I followed suit with my favorite summer dessert- Lemon Squares.
I have loved lemon squares since a little girl. The powdery sweet topping over the slightly sour lemon filling that melts in your mouth is the perfect summer dessert. They are also one of the two desserts my mom, Queenie, was able to make-I’ve mentioned she is a better taster then maker right? But Lemon Squares, she could rock, simple, lemony, sweet lusciousness.
While there is nothing wrong with the classic lemon square, we are in Florida, and have a produce market right in our backyard. Grapefruits are falling over the fence from the neighbor’s tree, lovely, bitter sweet in flavor, and our herb garden is becoming like an overgrown aromatic weed garden. Call me inspired, Queenie’s classic lemon squares became Florida Citrus Mint Squares.
For the Crust
- Non-stick cooking spray
- 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/3 cup confectioners’ sugar, plus 1 tablespoon for sifting
- 1/4 cup cornstarch
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup cold unsalted butter, diced into small cubes
For the Citrus Filling
- 4 large eggs
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
- 1/3 cup fresh grapefruit juice
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon chopped mint
- 1 tablespoon grapefruit zest
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees, with rack in center. Spray a 9 inch baking pan with cooking spray and lay a piece of parchment into it, pressing and folding it to cover the interior of the pan.
2. To make the crust, combine flour with confectioners’ sugar, cornstarch, and salt in a food processor and pulse. Add the cold butter and pulse until mixture is course crumbs. Scrape crumb mixture into the parchment lined baking dish and press evenly.
3. Bake in oven until crust is lightly browned 20 minutes. Let cool slightly in pan.
4. Turn oven down to 325 degrees. Start to make the lemon filling: In a mixing bowl, add the eggs and beat with an electric mixer until thick. Add in the granulated sugar, lemon juice, grapefruit juice, flour, baking powder, salt, mint and grapefruit zest and mix thoroughly. Pour over the warm crust. Bake in oven for 20 minutes or until set. Cool to room temperature; refrigerate about 1 hour.
5. Lift the parchment paper from baking pan on to cutting board and cut into 16 squares. Sift the remaining tablespoon confectioners’ sugar over the top and place on serving tray.
Summer is just about here, wait another week or so or break out the Slip and Slide early, it’s up to you. Either way, be sure to enjoy the flavors of summer, the beautiful produce that fills the markets. Summer and childhood memories are bonded together, like Queenie’s Lemon Squares, be sure to create your own for your family and friends.