Michael Ruhlman is an author, food writer and blogger. His latest book, Ratio, has quite the buzz going in foodie circles right now. I haven’t read it yet, but it’s on my list. He recently wrote a post about his disdain over the use of boxed lemon square mixes. I have to confess, I’ve only ever made lemon squares from a mix — and I thought they were pretty good. But it’s been a few years and I now try to not use boxed baking mixes at all and his post inspired me to make them for Easter. Actually, if it were a perfect world, I would’ve baked a lemon meringue pie but my last attempt was so abysmal I thought it best not to (I can’t get the meringue to not weep, and that makes me weep). Lemon squares are an acceptable substitute.
Ruhlman’s lemon squares (actually Susan Ziegler’s, his childhood neighbor) are equal parts base and curd. He says one can tweak the balance as one sees fit, but 50/50 is fine with me. The finished lemon squares were a little fragile but had terrific flavor — tangy, sweet, buttery. I loved the shortbread quality of the base, and by Day 2 the base had acquired a little bit of a very pleasant crunchiness. The recipe makes 16 fairly small squares, so if I were planning on making enough to share I’d make a second pan.