I’m sharing this recipe close on the heels of hosting some friends at our home last week – and with Sandra in mind, as she’s looking forward to sharing it with some special people.
Homemade marhsmallows? Why not? They’re ridiculously simple, and a great topping for lemon squares. Pick your choice of piping the topping on in rows as above, or spreading the marshmallow topping as a third layer for these lemony treats.
You’ll want to know that you won’t be whipping ingredients together and popping them directly in the oven. With this recipe, you’ll prep the dough and, after patting it in to the base of the pan, you’ll pop the pan and dough in the freezer for about 20 minutes. This is fine, because that gives you time to prep the filling and get a head start on your marshmallows. Then, when you’re done baking, you’ll want to allow the squares to cool to room temperature before refrigerating them; they’ll taste better. In other words, you may want to prep these early the day of your event – or the night before.
For the base:
- 1.5 cup (375 mL) flour
- .25 cup (60 mL) icing sugar
- two tablespoons cornstarch
- two tablespoons grated lemon zest*
- .75 cup (180 g) cold butter, cubed
* Depending on their size, you may need up to two lemons; you’ll use them for the zest in both the dough and the filling, and also for the juice that’s included in the filling. If you’ve not zested before, there’s no need to be intimidated. You’re simply removing the outer layer of a citrus fruit and, while you can acquire a lemon zester for this purpose, you can also use a simple grater you likely already have at hand. Have a look here or here to see how others prep their zest.
For the filling:
- six eggs
- 1.75 cup (350 g) granulated sugar
- .75 cup lemon juice
- two tablespoons grated lemon zest
For the marshmallow:
- two egg whites
- .25 cup (50 g) granulated sugar
You’ll want to have at hand …
- a whisker
- a nine inch square pan
- parchment paper – not a necessity, but nice to have
- a piping bag and tip if you’d like to pipe rows of rosettes on the bars; otherwise, you can spread the marshmallow across the squares
- Combine the flour, sugar, two tablespoons of lemon zest and (if desired) .5 teaspoon of salt.
- Stir in the cubed butter and mix (with an electric hand mixer, or in a food processor) for about 30 seconds, until the dough looks like small peas.
- Shape the dough into a ball. You may look at the mixture and think this is unlikely, but I promise it will work.
- Line the baking pan with parchment paper, with sufficient paper to hang over the sides.
- Take the dough ball and pat it across the base of a prepared pan.
- Pop the pan with dough base in the freezer for 20 minutes, or until it’s firm.
- While the base is chilling, preheat the oven to 350 F.
- Once the base is chilled, use a fork to prick holes in the dough.
- Place the pan in the oven, and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until it’s a pale gold.
- Whisk the eggs, sugar, lemon juice and another two tablespoons of lemon zest together in a bowl.
- Once the base is baked, remove it from the oven just long enough to pour the filling atop the base.
- Return the pan to the oven and bake another 20 to 25 minutes, or until the filling has set.
- Take the pan out of the oven and, while you prep the marshmallow, set the oven to broil.
- With an electric mixer, whip two egg whites until they’re foamy.
- Stir in .25 cup (50 g) of granulated sugar, and beat the mixture until stiff peaks take shape.
- If you like the look of the bars below, spread the marshmallow directly over the squares. If you prefer rosettes, spoon the topping into a piping bag and pipe rows of rosettes (or your preferred shape, depending on the tip) over the squares. If piping, consider that the rosettes will dictate the portion size for each of your squares.
- Place the marshmallow-topped pan under the broiler, with the oven door open; keep an eye on your squares as you’ll likely want to pull them out after barely (if) a minute.
- Pull the squares from the oven for the last time as soon as the marshmallows are golden brown; keep them in too long, and they’ll burn.
- Remove the pan from the oven and let it cool to room temperature.
- Refrigerate the squares until cold.
Serve and Enjoy
When ready to serve, use the parchment overhangs as handles to remove this dessert from the pan; cut into squares, and enjoy.