Thanks to mild winters and long growing seasons, Israel is one of the best growers of top quality citrus in the world, and exports citrus worldwide. Among a multitude of varieties, Israeli citrus includes pink grapefruits, mandarin oranges, clementines, pomelos, limes, and lemons.
My search for a good lemon square recipe was a challenge; I tried so many and found that most of them were cloyingly sweet. I wanted something that emphasized the tartness of lemons – isn’t that the point? Over time, I came up with the one winning recipe with the perfect blend of sweet and tart. Our lemon square has a crunchy shortbread base and a pucker-your-lips creamy lemon topping.
When I serve them at home, I cut them into quarters and store them in the freezer right up until the time I garnish them, because I think they taste great cold. At home, I often serve these treats, cut into quarters and arranged on a pretty plate with a final garnish of sprinkled confectioners sugar and topped with a bit of curled lemon zest. I have also topped them with fresh raspberries and even little miniature flowers like violets. They are just so dainty and adorable and conjure up images of tea at the Plaza Hotel.
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Cream all lthree ingredients until light and fluffy. Using your hands, press mixture gently and evenly into an 8 x 8 baking pan. Bake until lightly golden (about 15 minutes).
- Beat sugar, eggs, and lemon juice until foamy and light in color (approximately five minutes).
- Gradually add flour, baking powder, and rind, and continue beating until well blended.
- Pour topping over base and bake until lightly golden on top, (approximately 25 minutes).
- Cool completely, then cut and sprinkle with confectioners' sugar.
Reprinted with permission from Palate Pleasers by the former Women's Auxiliary of Hebrew SeniorLife (then Hebrew Rehabilitation Center for Aged in Boston).