lemon squares


I am about to go see Fantastic Beasts & Where To Find Them. And I am JUST A LITTLE BIT EXCITED.


Like most kids of the 90s, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone is one of the first books I remember my Dad reading to my little brother and me when we were on holiday in France. 

lemon-squares-7Since then I’ve read all of the books, and have seen most of the films. Bizarrely I think I’ve seen Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire about 10 times, and not just because it had Robert Pattinson in it. Can’t really explain that one: it just seemed to be the film of choice when it was the end of term at school and the teachers had had enough of us.


I have to admit, I was worried that I’m going to be underwhelmed by this film. But then we had a board games night the other night and ended up playing the Diagon Alley game. It’s a game for little kids, but get a group of grads and uni students playing it and suddenly it becomes ultra-competitive. It got me all excited by the Harry Potter universe again, and I wasn’t the only one. We all returned to Pottermore: redid the Hogwarts house quiz (I got Slytherin) and discovered our patronuses (a swift for me) 🐦

I remember when the final HP film came out, and JK Rowling stood outside the cinema in Leicester Square, tears in her eyes, and told the world that Hogwarts would always be there when we needed it. In this year that’s just been one big s**t-storm after another, sometimes we need a little reminder to believe in magic. ✨


On a totally unrelated note, this week I found myself with a surplus of lemons and didn’t quite know what to do with them. I love lemon-flavoured things, but I find their use in baking can be relatively limited. Lemon drizzle cakebeen there. Lemon and poppyseed muffins – done that. Lemon tarts – ticked that box.

One thing I haven’t tried is lemon bars, which appear to be a very American thing: a thick lemon custard on top of a sort-of-shortbread base. They are a punch to the face with lemon. My housemate Alex has been suffering with a cold for the past week or so, and could taste them, which says a lot! As an experiment I added some thyme to the base, which you can’t really taste, so feel free to leave it out, or alternatively add more.

Lemon Squares

  • Servings: makes around 20 squares, depending on their size
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

This is modified slightly from Ina Garten {the Barefoot Contessa}‘s lemon bar recipe, found on Something Swanky.


  • 225g unsalted butter
  • 100g sugar
  • 260g plain flour
  • pinch salt
  • 1 tsp dried thyme {optional}
Lemon filling:
  • 6 eggs
  • 600g caster sugar
  • zest of 2 lemons
  • 205ml lemon juice {I juiced the 2 lemons I had, and topped up w/ bottled lemon juice}
  • 130g plain flour
  • icing sugar, to dust


Preheat your oven to 180*C and line a 9×13″ brownie pan with greaseproof paper.

Cream together the butter and sugar, and stir in the flour, salt and thyme. Tip the loose dough into the tin, and press it down, trying to get it even as possible. Bake for 20 minutes, until golden brown on top. Chill in the fridge.

Whisk together the eggs, sugar, lemon zest and juice and flour in a mixing bowl, until smooth.

Pour the lemon mixture on top of the base and bake for 40 minutes, until the top is set and golden brown.

Leave to cool, and dust with icing sugar. Cut into small squares to serve.

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