I love lemon desserts, so I recently tried the Lemon Squares recipe here. Based on the comments for the recipe, I doubled the lemon juice (fresh) and added some lemon zest to the filling.
Mixed reviews with it. The husband thought they were way too sweet, and I'd have to agree. I also though the overall bar was too thin - not enough shortbread crust, not enough filling. However - it was good enough that I feel it's worth reworking to fit our tastes.
So - family bbq this weekend so I had another go with them. Originally I intended to use all key lime juice but was out of luck - didn't have it at the grocery store. I ended up getting 3 limes and figured I'd make up the balance of the needed juice with a bag of fresh lemons I had at home.
I used a 13x9 pan and lined with foil (sprayed well with pam) so the bars could easily be removed - good choice.
For the crust:
2 sticks of unsalted butter
2 cups KA AP flour
1/2 cup 10x sugar
zest of 1 lime
zest of 1 lemon
Ran it through the food processor until it resembled sand, and pressed it into the foil lined pan. I baked at 350 for about 25 minutes until lightly browned and the center of the shortbread was set to the touch.
Basically, this is double the original recipe with a pinch of salt and the zests to give it more flavor. With the larger pan and the double recipe, the resulting crust was thicker than the original recipe. I also baked it slightly longer to give it more crispness.
Overall, I was very satisfied with changes to the crust, but I'll have to scale it down to make an 8x8 or 9x9, which is more often the size dessert I make. I think probably 1.5 times the original will do the trick.
The filling in the original was overly sweet and kind of skimpy. So, reworked, here's what I used:
6 large eggs
2 pinches salt
6 Tablespoons AP flour
zest of 2 limes
zest of 1 lemon
6 oz fresh lime and lemon juice (I zest on a microplane FYI)
2 1/3 cups sugar
So the limes I ended up with were like limes often are - on the drier side and not a whole lot of juice. Loads of flavor in the zest, so I just made sure to use all of it. Overall there was maybe one ounce of fresh lime juice from the 3 limes. I made up the difference with some rather juicy lemons that I had.
Anyway - just toss everything into the food processor (or beat with a hand whisk) and pulse a couple times until it all comes together. Pour over the hot shortbread crust and bake until the filling is set in the middle. That took about 35 minutes for me with the extra volume/juice.
From the original - I was looking to triple the amount of filling, but stay with the same juice (doubled from original needed quantities). I also reduced the amount of sugar.
I chilled the whole pan thoroughly - it was very easy to just pop all of them out, peel off the foil, and cut the bars up on a cutting board. I'd say that's about a must if you want nice, neat bars.
So.....the filling was still too sweet (not as pop your eye sockets sweet as it was before), but I was much happier with the filling-to-shortbread ratio and the overall thickness of the bars. I really liked what the lime zest/juice brought to the filling flavors.
The next step is to bring the quantity down (it's just my husband and me - we do not need huge pans of dessert) and reduce the sweetness of the filling yet again.