You’ve been asking for this recipe and here it is! I first started making these tart sweet lemon shortbread squares 16 years ago. They have become a family favourite and a requested dessert from friends. For over 40 years shortbread has always been a traditional Christmas cookie made by my mother, a favourite of mine next to my own ginger snaps. Therefore, the shortbread crust is one of the yummy features of this dessert.

I’ve adapted the recipe from a similar square I ate when I was in Vancouver in 2000. It was made by Lesley Stowe at her retail shop back then. The shortbread provides a delicious strong base for the custard like centre. The top layer caramelizes into a thin sweet crunchy cover. I dust the squares with icing sugar and garnish each with candied ginger. I hope you enjoy indulging in these scrumptious tart sweet lemon shortbread squares as much as I do!

Recipe

Prep Time 15 minutes, Baking Time 60 Minutes, Makes 24 squares 

Ingredients

Shortbread Base

1 ½ cup (375 mL) all-purpose flour
½ cup (125 mL) sifted icing sugar
2/3 cup (150 mL) cold unsalted butter cut into cubes

Lemon Filling

6 eggs
1 cup (250 mL) freshly squeezed lemon juice (about 3 large lemons)
½ cup (125 mL) all-purpose flour
2 ½ cups (625 mL) granulated sugar

Garnish

¼ cup sifted icing sugar
24 candied ginger pieces

Directions

Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). Prepare a 9 X 13 inch baking pan by coating the sides with a thin layer of butter. In a food processor, place flour and icing sugar. Whirl until blended. Add butter cubes in stages and blend. Once mixed completely, add the base to prepared baking pan and press evenly with hands or pastry smoother. The shortbread base will be very thin. Bake in 350°F (180°C) oven for 15 to 20 minutes, until the crust is firm, and starts to turn golden. Remove from oven and set aside to cool while preparing filling.

Reduce oven temperature to 325°F (160°C). In a food processor, add eggs and juice and whirl until combined. Add flour, granulated sugar and mix well. Pour filling onto to shortbread crust in 9X13 inch baking pan. Bake at 325°F (160°C) for about 40 minutes, until filling is set and golden brown around edges. Remove from oven to a rack to cool for about 30 minutes. Dust with icing sugar, then cut into 2 inch (5 cm) squares. Garnish each square with a piece of candied ginger. Serve with afternoon tea or at your next family get together. Enjoy!

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