Little pieces of sunshine
Here’s a decadent dessert that Mom won’t be able to resist: lemon-limoncello squares! On top of being melt-in-your-mouth delicious, they’ll look absolutely stunning on your traditional Mother’s Day brunch table! Since they take up to two hours to set, we recommend making them the night before your big event.
Lemon liqueur is a great ingredient to cook and bake with, and it’s especially delicious in desserts. Cakes, mousse, mille-feuilles pastries, popsicles, fruit salad… you can add it to almost any dessert! Are you a die-hard foodie? Try topping your lemon bars with limoncello cream. Sublime!
Lemon and Limoncello Squares
Preparation: 30 minutes
Baking time: 30 minutes
Cooling time: roughly 2 hours
Cost per serving: About $1.50 per square
Makes 16 small squares
250 mL (1 cup) all-purpose flour
60 mL (1/4 cup) icing sugar
Zest of 1 lemon
Pinch of salt
125 mL (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, cold, cut into small cubes
1 egg, beaten
250 mL (1 cup) sugar
45 mL (3 tbsp) flour
125 mL (1/2 cup) Limoncello
60 mL (1/4 cup) lemon juice
2 eggs and 2 egg yolks
30 mL (2 tbsp) extra–virgin olive oil
1. Crust: Position rack in centre of oven. 2. Preheat oven to 170°C (325°F). 3. Butter a 20-cm (8-inch) square baking pan and line with parchment paper, letting parchment paper overhang on each side. 4. In a bowl, mix flour and sugar, lemon zest and salt. 5. Mix in butter using your fingers, until the dough is a shortbread-like consistency. 6. Add egg to the mixture. 7. Lightly press the dough into the buttered, lined baking pan. 8. Cook for 20 minutes, or until crust is golden brown. 9. Lemon filling: In a pot, mix all the ingredients, with the exception of the olive oil. Bring to a boil, while whisking. 10. Remove the pot from the element, and mix in olive oil while whisking. 11. For a smoother filling texture, strain the mixture through a sieve, then pour into crust. 12. Cook in the oven for 10 minutes at 170°C (325°F) or until the filling has set. 13. Let cool and refrigerate for roughly 2 hours. Remove from baking pan and cut into squares. 14. Dust with icing sugar and fleur de sel, to taste.
Try it with other garnish recipes!
Preparation: 25 minutes
Cooking time: 45 minutes
Makes: About 500 mL (2 cups) (about 10 portions of 50 mL each)
Cost per portion: About $0.90
3 egg whites, room temperature
1 pinch of cream of tartar
1 pinch of salt
180 mL (3/4 cup) sugar
180 mL (3/4 cup) white corn syrup
60 mL (1/4 cup) water
5 mL (1 tsp) vanilla (optional)
1. In a bowl, combine egg whites, cream of tartar and salt. 2. In a small saucepan, bring the sugar, corn syrup and water to a boil. Let simmer until a candy thermometer reads 116°C (240°F). 3. Remove from heat while you whip egg whites until soft peaks form. 4. Slowly pour the hot syrup onto the egg whites, making sure the mixture does not fall onto the whisk attachments. Continue to whip until stiff peaks form. 5. Pour into a jar.
Note: This garnish is also great on lemon pies and tarts, or spread it on your toast with jam!
Lemon and limoncello Greek yogurt
Preparation: 5 minutes
Makes: About 250 ml (1 cup)
Cost per portion: About $0.60
250 mL (1 cup) Greek yogurt
15 mL (1 tbsp) limoncello
60 mL (1/4 cup) icing sugar
Zest of 1 lemon
Combine all ingredients in a bowl and serve as garnish with lemon bars.
What to drink with these lemon bars?
Lemon liqueur is at the top of the list when it comes to what to drink with these squares. Italian tradition says the liqueur should be chilled and served as a digestive, but it can also be enjoyed as an aperitif, neat, or in a cocktail. Another magnificent match is a light and fruity Muscat from Piémont. Muscat is Asti’s flagship grape variety, and a bottle of Spumante or another, similar naturally sparkling (“pearl”) wine would also pair nicely with this dessert. Anything with fine bubbles and freshness is a great way to end a meal. The lush texture of ice wines makes them a dessert staple, and served here, they would highlight the creaminess of the bars. There are just so many great Québec-made products to choose!
$22.95Fruit liqueur (lemon)750 mlItalySAQ code : 00400747
Note: For vintage products, the vintage in stock may differ from the one displayed.
Reduced prices do not apply to SAQ Dépôt stores unless expressly stated to the contrary.
Photos: Maude Chauvin and David De Stefano (recipes)