Saturday, March 10, 2007
The Duh Moment
On Thursday night, in an ongoing effort to bake with citrus (insert eyeroll here), I made some lime squares. I used the Lemon Square recipe from Emily Luchetti's Stars Desserts because it's a fine lemon square recipe. It's not stingy with citrus, using 1 cup and 2 tablespoons of lemon juice; that tartness is counterbalanced with 3 cups of sugar and 6 eggs. This voluptuous filling lies atop a pretty basic shortbread crust, which is baked for 20 minutes before the filling is poured on. I've made this recipe countless times: definitely tried and true.
By all appearances, the bars baked up fine. Consequently, I was pretty surprised when I discovered that the filling had seeped beneath the crust. I've occasionally seen some small seepage issues with these squares, but I've always been able to attribute that to my own uneven crust preparation. This batch was a seepage disaster, with the crust suspended in a pool of baked lime goo.
As I was driving to work Friday morning, I thought about the tray of sloppy lime squares in the backseat, wondering if should have docked the crust, or maybe put pie weights on top (not that the crust had ever needed that treatment before) to prevent the crust from shrinking. Then I flashed back and realized something: Because I'd been helping Claire with homework, I'd taken the crust out of the oven and let it cool down for 10 minutes before I'd poured the filling on top. Duh. In all the times I'd previously made this recipe, I'd never let the crust cool down before I poured the filling on top. I suspect that the 10 minutes of cooling allowed the crust to contract enough to permit the lime filling to ooze under. Live and learn.