Lemon Squares

Lemon Squares

This delicious gluten-free version of classic lemon squares is sure to please!

From Chef Oonagh Williams of Gluten-Free Cooking with Oonagh

I’ve eaten some gluten-free lemon squares, and tried out some recipes and really didn’t like the topping, mainly because to me the texture was like a gluey custard. Then, by chance, I read someone saying they made a lemon curd topping instead. I make lemon curd frequently in the microwave (and lemon curd means lemon butter not anything cheese), and I’m happy with my gluten-free shortbread pastry dessert base, so went from there. Tanginess will depend on size of lemon you zest and juice. I like it tangy but not sour and just quote number of lemons to use, not teaspoons of zest (honestly, how do you accurately measure teaspoons of zest or grams on a scale) or amount of juice. No flour or cornstarch (cornflour in UK) needed in lemon top.

I have made these with Earth Balance for the base and coconut oil for the lemon curd. Obviously not the flavor of butter but still tasty.

Ingredients:

Shortbread base

  • 1 c (4 oz, 112g ) my gluten-free flour mix (see below)
  • ½ c (2 oz, 56 g) gluten-free almond flour (ground almonds in UK)
  • ½ c (2 oz, 56 g) powdered sugar (Icing sugar in UK)
  • 1+1/2 sticks (6 oz, 168g) butter, hard from the fridge and cut into 1 tablespoon slices
  • ¾ tsp (4 ml) xanthan gum

Lemon curd toppings

  • 2 lemons, washed, zested, squeezed of juice and strained of pips. (approx ½ c 120 ml juice)
  • 1+1/4 c (8 oz, 224 g) sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 4 oz (112g) unsalted butter at room temperature
  • Powdered sugar to finish when cold

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350*F (180*C). Put flours, sugar and xanthan gum in food processor. Add cold hard butter and run food processor until mix resembles fine breadcrumbs.

2. Grease 8×8 (20×20 cm) baking pan. Sprinkle in shortbread mix, spread evenly and press down.

3. Bake in preheated oven for about 30-40 minutes. You do want the base to be light golden brown all over now or it doesn’t taste cooked enough.

4. Put lemon juice, sugar and lemon zest in 4 cup (1 ltr) jug and microwave until sugar is melted.

5. Remove from microwave, add butter or coconut oil and stir until butter/coconut oil melts in hot liquid. This also cools liquid so eggs don’t scramble.

6. Using an immersion blender, add eggs one at a time with blender running. This mixes eggs in really well, no white bits of egg white showing and chops lemon zest even further so no need to strain the mix at all.

7. Pour lemon mix onto baked shortbread base. Cook in preheated oven for 15-20 minutes. There should still be a wobble in the custard and slightly wet in the center. Don’t cook it until it’s set all over, then it tastes rubbery and looks scrambled. This is an egg custard. It might be risen slightly around edges, popped air bubbles showing.

8. Cool totally then dust heavily with powdered sugar to hide any air bubbles. I don’t find the powdered sugar dissolves into top. The base might have some crumbs, but it’s a shortbread. Keeps well covered in the fridge. I cut it up and transfer to covered container.

My Gluten-Free Mix

I use for one cup of gluten-free mix:

  • ½ cup potato starch
  • ¼ c tapioca starch from Asian market or Goya or Yoki brand in supermarkets.
  • 2 tbsp amaranth or millet flour: Bob’s Red Mill (millet is roughly one third the price of amaranth, is not so nutritious, but is more readily available.)
  • 2 tbsp sorghum flour: Bob’s Red Mill.


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