Old-Fashioned Lemon Squares

I love lemon squares anytime of the year.  In the winter the sweet and tart citrus dessert brings a certain brightness to the day and in the summer it's like enjoying the refreshing flavor of lemonade on a crust.  Although the classic way of making them, with a sprinkling of confectioners sugar, is delicious and familiar, I also like to omit the confectioners sugar and spread 1/2-3/4 cup of raspberry preserves over the cooled bars for a beautiful and equally delicious alternative.

Old-Fashioned Lemon Squares
makes 16 bars

1 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
1/4 c. confectioner's sugar
pinch of salt
1/2 c. unsalted butter, cold and cut into small squares

lemon filling:
4 large eggs, at room temperature
1 1/4 c. sugar
1/2 c. fresh squeezed lemon juice (about 2 large lemons or 3 medium)
1/4 c. all-purpose flour
1/2 t. salt
1 T. lemon zest (saved from one of the lemons you used for juice)
confectioner's sugar for dusting

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.  Lightly grease a 9x9" baking pan.

Crust:  In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the 1 1/2c. flour, 1/4 c. sugar and pinch of salt.  Using a pastry blender, your fingers or two forks, cut in the butter.  Blend until the butter pieces are about the size of peas.  Press into the prepared pan and bake 20 minutes, or until light brown.

Filling:  In a medium bowl, beat the eggs, granulated sugar, and lemon juice until smooth.  Stir in the 1/4c. flour, salt and lemon zest.

Once the crust is finished, pour the filling over the hot crust and bake for 21-25 minutes longer, or until the lemon filling appears to be set.  Remove from the oven and let cool in the pan on a wire rack.  Once cool, sprinkle with confectioners sugar or raspberry jam (see note above).

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