As a teenager, I always pictured myself living in some remote place, far away from my hometown. The place was definitely not in Canada as that would be far too boring, predictable and lack imagination. As a university student, I was certain that my dream job would land me in Europe, likely Switzerland or Germany. After completing my first contract job, I pictured myself living with my husband, raising my future children and working somewhere within the forests of tropical Africa. This is where my heart had fallen. I seemed to have little choice in the matter at the time.
Except that life happens. Priorities change, compromises are made. I am not living any of the places that I thought I once would. Life has turned out to be far more beautiful than I could have imagined yet, so very different than my imagination let me believe it would turn out.
While we live in Canada, the drive to my hometown (we usually head home on holidays) feels daunting with two young children. It is indeed tiring and as a third trimester pregnant lady, it is a little overwhelming with packing and being on the highway for a good portion of the day. It is such that I find myself wanting to stay at my house. Not to bother with all the organization, lack of sleep and excitement. Also, to remain comfortable within my home and routine. But then, we decide to go and make the drive. House tidied, bags packed, meals and entertainment for the kids packed, and we are off driving along the least exciting expressway for over 450 kilometres. After arriving, I’m always so pleased and happy to have made the trip.
The place that I thought of running away from is lovelier and more life-filled to me now than it was as a young adult. Going “home, home” as some would say, is even better now because I see it through my children’s eyes, through the joy that it brings grandparents when they are reunited with their grandchildren and because I have been away long enough to truly appreciate it.
On to the lemon and lime shortbread bars. This is a forgiving recipe. It is designed for those who have purchased far too many citrus fruits and want to do something with them before they spoil. If you only have limes, then just use two limes in place of the lemon. These bars are a refreshing after dinner dessert.
Lemon and Lime Shortbread Bars
Makes: 40 small squares (3 bite squares)
Time: Prep time (30 minutes) + baking time (45 minutes total) + cooling time (3 hours)
250 g (2 cups) all-purpose flour
67 g (1/3 cup) granulated sugar
¼ tsp ground kosher salt
245 g (1 cup) unsalted butter, room temperature
Lemon and Lime Filling
7 whole eggs
1 egg yolk
5 limes, zest and juice
1 lemon, zest and juice
500 g (2 ½ cups) granulated sugar
64 g (½ cup) all-purpose flour
½ tsp kosher salt
icing sugar for dusting
1. Line a 9x13 inch pan (25x35 cm) pan with parchment paper.
2. Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C).
3. Mix together the flour, sugar and salt. Add the butter and mix using a hand mixer until the dough feels crumbly. Press evenly into the prepared pan. Bake for 15 minutes.
Lemon and Lime Filling
1. While the shortbread crust is baking, beat the eggs and egg yolk together using a hand-mixer. Beat the lime and lemon zest and juice as well as the sugar into the eggs. Sprinkle the flour and salt on top and mix until combined.
2. Pour the liquid mixture over the baked crust. Bake for 26-42 minutes (check it at 26 minutes) until it is fully set. It will look bubbly but not browned.
3. Remove from oven and let fully cool (about 3 hours). Sprinkle icing sugar on top but pouring a couple of tablespoons through a fine mesh sieve.
4. Store cut squares in a sealable container in the refrigerator for up to a week.
Serve with tea or as an after dinner refreshing dessert.
* For a delightful presentation, use a sharp knife to trim the edges then, cut into squares as usual.
Recipe adapted from The Crepes of Wrath
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