Of all the recipes I’ve tested, lemon squares are probably the thing I’ve made the most often.
I’ve tried all sorts of recipes for lemon bars from famous pastry chefs, along with different crust/filling combinations from each to achieve the perfect square. But there was only ever one I kept coming back to, from the queen herself, Martha Stewart.
In the Martha Stewart Cookies book, she describes these bars well: “Pucker up: This version of the bake-sale favorite is the most lemony one we’ve tried. A generous crown of powdered sugar…makes them easier to stack for storage.”
What I like most about it is the unique butter grating method to create that barely cooked short-crust. It pairs well with the intense lemony filling only achieved by juicing the lemons yourself.
I will use a disclaimer when using a Martha Stewart recipe, test it before you serve it. Her empire has grown so much that her online content doesn’t match her books. Ingredients and procedure will differ between her articles and her cookbooks for the same recipe. I’ve particularly found this is the case when it comes to flour. Often there is way too much flour, so I’ve become accustomed to adding it slowly, because likely you won’t need it all.
That said, next to the lemon squares recipe in her cookies book, I have written a big “YES!” No alterations necessary, this recipe was perfection from the very beginning.
Makes one 9”x 13” pan
- ¾ Cup unsalted frozen butter
- 1 ¾ Cups AP flour
- ¾ Cup icing sugar
- ¾ tsp salt
Butter your baking dish and line with parchment.
Grate butter on cheese grater.
Whisk flour, sugar and salt. Add butter and mix. Working quickly so the butter stays cold. (mixture will appear loose, this is normal)
Press into pan and freeze for 15 minutes.
Bake at 350°F until golden brown around edges. Approximately 25 minutes.
- 4 Eggs
- 1 1/3 Cups granulated sugar
- 3 Tbsp flour
- ¼ tsp salt
- ¾ Cup fresh lemon juice
- ¼ Cup whole milk
Whisk sugar, flour and salt together.
Add eggs to combine.
Then add lemon juice and milk.
Strain directly over hot crust and bake at a slightly lowered temperature of 325°F until set. Approx 17 minutes.
Store in fridge.
Once cool, dust with icing sugar and cut into pieces.