First I joined a book group and now i’ve found a baking club – BRILLIANT!
Amy Lane has rather marvellously gathered the troops together to all cook a chosen recipe every month and then share our experiences on our blogs.
July’s tempting treats are summery Lemon Squares. So I recruited my ever-keen kitchen assitant Sam to give me a hand. I was also our turn to look after the class cuddly bear Bertie this weekend, so we fashioned him a red apron out of a napkin so he could help too.
This started well, and Sam and Bertie took a keen interest in chopping up the butter and putting the ingredients in the mixer.
But they soon got fed up and Sam demanded that Bertie should be allowed to make his own cake. So after a total meltdown I gave Sam a bowl with some random ingredients and let him get on with it with Bertie while I attempted to concentrate on my Lemon Squares.
Baking with four-year-olds has to be a fluid affair – I’m just happy that Sam’s taking an interest. He’s far more experimental than me!
Anyway back to the plot. It’s a pretty straightforward recipe. I don’t have a food processor so I used my mixer instead.
250g plain flour
75g icing sugar
175g butter, chilled and diced
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
For the lemon topping
2 unwaxed lemons
225g caster sugar
50g plain flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
icing sugar for dusting
1. Preheat the oven to 180°C and grease a baking tin, approx 24cm x 24cm x 4cm.
2. Put the shortbread ingredients (flour, icing sugar, salt, butter and vanilla extract) into a food processor and process until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. If you don’t have a food processor you can rub the fat into the flour and sugar by hand or using a pastry blender.
3. Tip the mixture into the baking tin and press down with a spoon and/or your hands.
4. Bake for around 15 minutes until a light golden colour, remove from the oven but leave the oven on.
5. Grate the lemon zest and squeeze out the juice. Put this in the food processor with the rest of the topping ingredients and blitz briefly to combine into a thin batter. Again, if you don’t have a food processor you could use a whisk.
6. Pour the mix over the base and put back in the oven for another 15 minutes, until the topping is just set.
7. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely. Then cut into squares and dust with icing sugar. This recipe will make about 20 squares.
These are not suitable for freezing but can be kept in an airtight container for 4 days.
I’m really pleased with the results. Light and lemony – lovely with a cup of tea or ideal for a summer picnic. We’re going to wrap some up for end-of-term gifts for Sam’s teachers.
I’ve made lemon shortbread before but the topping on these squares makes it really unique. It’s nice to have a new baked treat up my sleeve.
Baking Club Rocks!!!!