When I was a little girl, my grandmother Ekstrom made lemon squares for “club”. Her club consisted of a small group of women who got together every couple of weeks to play cards and share a light meal they called “lunch”, even though their card party happened in the evening! Apparently the time of day mattered little to the naming of their snack time! Each club member had a specialty and these were Nanny’s.
My mouth is watering remembering how excited I was to ‘get the pan’. After Nanny made her squares, she would cut and arrange them on a serving plate. Not wanting any over browned edges showing, she would leave the darker bits for me to inhale with a big glass of milk. It’s funny that after a lifetime of enjoying desserts from all over the world this humble little square fulfills every part of a perfect sweet experience for me. They are crunchy, buttery, sweet, sour and creamy all at the same time.
I’ve tried making these squares a million times over the years but could never get them to taste like Nan’s. Last summer, Mom brought a pan of them up to the farm and with one bite I was transported back in time to my grandmother’s kitchen. After I fretted about not being able to get them right, Mom asked to see my recipe. She smiled when she saw Nanny’s handwriting and laughed a bit at the sketchy instructions. What you see on the recipe card below is all I got. There’s nothing written on the back. I guess she had made them so many times in front of me, she figured I should know what to do. Mom filled in the blanks for me and they have been a success ever since.
Preheat oven 350*F
1 1/4 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/4 cup butter, melted
1 can Eagle Brand Milk
2 lemons, juiced
Combine cracker crumbs and melted butter then pat into the bottom of an 8×8 inch baking dish or pan
Using your stand mixer, place lemon juice and condensed milk in mixer bowl
With mixer running on medium high speed, drop eggs in one at a time
Beat until frothy and thick – about 2 minutes
Pour batter onto prepared crumb mixture
Sprinkle top of squares with a dusting of extra graham cracker crumbs
Place in oven and bake for 15 minutes
Remove from oven to a cooling rack
After completely cooled, cover and place in refrigerator until serving time
THE LOVE: This is one of those times that you have to do as I say and not as I did. Mom swears by making the graham cracker crumbs from the actual crackers and not buying them pre done. She’s right. It takes about 20 crackers to make 1 1/4 cups of crumbs.
Thanks for reading.
one year ago: sun-dried tomato and cheddar tea bread