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Lemon Squares

Lemon squares

Verdict: These lemon squares have a simple buttery crust with a lemon topping that is tart yet perfectly sweet. A secret family recipe that is a potluck favourite.

This recipe comes from a good friend and former roommate. Not being an avid cook, she would rarely measure out ingredients, she would simply use the same spoons and eye-ball amounts as she went. This serves as the only print recipe she kept on hand when we first met (a year later, she would move away from Canada to the U.K. with a large binder full of recipes from her mom and I).

Lemons and zester Lemons ready to be juiced and zested.

In our household of misfit professionals from B.C., Ontario, and Quebec, a shared love for cooking gradually flourished. After many hours together in the kitchen making Sunday family dinners and imparting lessons (ie. Thai curry and chocolate Skor cookies), my friend finally shared her family’s recipe for making lemon squares. This was a photocopy of a photocopy passed along to the family, a page torn out of a magazine, its origins unknown.

Lemon through the pressLemons juiced.

With our sleeves rolled up, she taught me how her grandfather taught her to make the crust of these lemon squares: the trick is to use your fingers, not a fork or pastry cutter.

Shortbread crust Simple butter crust, pressed into the bottom of a baking pan.

With the two of us working together, the recipe came together in no time. We exchanged stories about our grandparents as my friend prepared the crust and I prepared the lemon topping.

Add shredded coconut 5 minutes before end of baking Variation: add coconuts in the last 5 minutes of baking for a crunchy topping.

The original recipe directions were very simple. The recipe presented here adds details on how to make the best crust (use your fingers) and how to make a light weight topping (combine the topping ingredients together immediately before pouring onto the baked crust).

Lemon squares with coconut topping Delicious lemon square with optional crunchy coconut topping.

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