A few days ago T. and I finished reading our latest American Girl book: Kailey--she was, apparently, the Girl of the Year in 2004. We found the book at the flea market a couple of weeks ago--for a mere .50 cents! How could we pass that up? T. really enjoyed the story, about a young girl and her friend Tess who mobilize to save the precious tide pools at their beach when they are threatened by developers.
The girls hold a "Tide Pool Drawing Contest" as a way of encouraging visitors to the beach to think about how valuable the tide pools are, and how the marine life will be impacted by the commercial development. Then they bundle up the drawings and, armed with Tess's mother's famous lemon squares, march into the developer's office to try and change his mind.
This lemon square business really got to T.
"What's a lemon square?" she asked, the first time the words were mentioned.
A lemon square, I explained to T. was a sort of cookie, crumbly crust on the outside, and gooey, tart lemon filling on the top. My mouth watered suddenly, just thinking about. They sounded good to T., too, who almost squealed with delight at the description. She's a lemon girl.
"Can we MAKE lemon squares?" she asked, jumping up and down on her bed.
I had never, ever made lemon squares before and, being a chocolate girl myself, my dessert choices usually run in that direction. But suddenly the thought of lemon squares seemed 100% compelling and right to me. Maybe it was the descriptions in the book of the ocean, and the crystal-clear tide pools, and the hot sun, that made me crave the summery sweet-tart taste of a lemon square, but I promised T. we'd make them--soon.
Yesterday the temperatures around here reached the upper 80s--more of the same is predicted for today. After T. and I picked up L. from school, we headed home, propped open the screened porch door, opened the windows, and made lemon squares.
Lots of them.
After dinner on the porch (veggie burritos, brown rice, and watermelon) I poured myself a large glass of white wine, and Scott put a record on the turntable inside. I bit into a lemon square, sipped some wine, and put my feet up.
Life was, at that moment, just absolutely perfect.
Lemon Squares (adapted from here)
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
1/4 cup confectioner's sugar
1 cup all purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 cup white sugar
2 large eggs
1/3 or more cup fresh lemon juice (I used three large lemons and ended up with a bit more than 1/3 cup)
2 tablespoons rated lemon zest
2 tablespoons flour
Preheat oven to 350. Butter a pan (I used a metal brownie pan). To make the crust, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the flour and salt, and beat until the dough comes together. It will be pretty crumbly--don't worry. Press into the bottom of your pan. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes, or until lightly browned.
Now, make the filling. Mix together sugar and eggs until smooth and glossy. Add the lemon juice and zest and stir gently to combine. Fold in the 2 tablespoons flour. Pour the filling over the crust and bake again for 20 minutes, or until the filling has set.
If you're having trouble seeing the lovely lemon pics, you can find them at my Flickr account, right here.