I had some lemons that I needed to use up today. I always buy too many. I just love the sight of a bowl of lemons on the counter top. They just look so cheerful to me, and homey. A little spot of sunshine on a dark and drizzly January day . . . lemons to me are the the perfect pick me up!
I decided to make some of my favourite slices . . . Lemon and Jam slices. Or Squares if you would rather call them that. I like to call them slices . . . sounds even more delicious when you call them slices. A rose by any other name and all that . . .
I love these slices because they encompass three of my favourite things . . . a buttery, crisp baked shortbread crust on the bottom . . . sweet strawberry preserves in the middle . . . a tangy lemoncurd like topping . . .
Oh my . . . but these are heavenly bliss. I love to enjoy them in the middle of the afternoon along with a hot drink. They're so good. These are the type of slices that you have a hard time walking past without picking at them . . . and I confess . . . I can never wait until they completely cool before I dig into them.
You're supposed to wait until they are completely cold to cut them . . . but they are awfully good warm . . . just sayin is all. They bring out the glutton in me. The tang of the lemon is soooo very good with the sweet fruitiness of the jam . . . and that buttery crust.
Of course you could use another flavour of jam if you wished. I just particularly love them made with strawberry jam. Cherry, raspberry or apricot are all rather good too . . . and then there is wild blueberry preserves, another favourite of mine.
I confess . . . I sometimes use limes and ginger jam. Those are awfully good too, especially if you add a little bit of ground ginger to the base. Mmmm . . . mmm . . . good. Are you not tempted???
*Lemon and Jam Slices*
Makes 15 squares
A butter, almost shortbread type of base, topped with sweet strawberry jam and a tangy lemon topping baked on top. Delicious.
For the base:
200g of plain flour (2 cups)
225g of cold unsalted butter (1 cup, or 2 sticks)
42g sifted icing sugar (1/3 cup)
1/4 tsp fine sea salt
For the jam:
6 heaped dessert spoons (about 3/4 cup)
For the Lemon topping:
281g of granulated sugar
the finely grated zest of one un-waxed lemon
1/2 tsp baking powder
3 TBS plain flour
3 large free range eggs
the juice of 2 1/2 lemons (1/3 cup)
Icing sugar to dust
Preheat the oven to 180*C/350*F/ gas mark 4. Butter an 11 by 7 inch baking dish, Dust with flour, shaking out any excess. Set aside. (Alternately you can line with foil and butter and dust the foil, leaving an overhang to lift the slices out when done.)
Whisk the flour, icing sugar and salt together in a large bowl. Cut the butter into cubes and drop it in. Rub it into the flour mixture with your fingertips until you have coarse crumbs. Press this mixture into the prepared baking tin. Bake in the preheated oven for 15 minutes, just until it is firm. Remove from the oven.
Whisk together the granulated sugar, lemon zest, baking powder and flour for the lemon topping. Beat in the eggs and lemon juice until smooth. Set aside.
Stir the jam together in a bowl with a fork to loosen it. Spread this over the warm base. Pour the lemon mixture over top and return the pan to the oven. Bake for an additional 25 to 30 minutes, until it is set and lightly browned. Remove from the oven and set the pan on a wire rack to cool completely before removing from the pan. Dust with icing sugar. Cut into squares to serve.