cake / dessert family / friends

Calamansi Squares

Sunday, May 11, 2014Enz F




I could never get enough of my summer citrus delights so last weekend, I, again, headed to my dear friend’s little oven and asked her if we could bake some Calamansi Squares. It is a tweaked version of the more popular Lemon Squares. This was the first of the two goodies we were able to bake that day (the second one was a rich and moist chocolate pound with chocolate ganache) and thus, another “brave” attempt of us being admitted neophytes when it comes to baking. 


"Tweaked" version of lemon squares
Calamansi lime is not only perfect for making calamansi beverages; it is also a useful flavor enhancer to many savory Asian dishes as well as a suitable ingredient for sweets and desserts. Being prolific all year round in the Philippines, I am lucky to always have fresh calamansi whenever I want. It is more accessible and cheaper than lemon. And unlike the regular lemon, calamansi lime has a tarter flavor yet releases a sharper and sweeter citrusy aroma.

Harmonizing the sweetness and the sourness of dessert lime bars was a learning experience for me and my friend, Princess. We came up with the measurements that we have found out to work very well for us. With this, it is more advisable to make use of your own personal judgment in adjusting the amount of calamansi juice and the sugar as some would prefer it tarter while others would want it sweet. We are simply lucky enough to have our wonderful families and great friends around to test our final output. They would never pay lip service to leave as complacent so that we could find more room for improvement but they do never hesitate to throw honest compliments as well when due and deserving. 


The real challenge lies on balancing the tart and sweetness.
Life is not all on the sweet side. There comes a time that you would get to encounter limes and lemons along the way in order to test your stance. But it is always a matter of putting a balance of both worlds into your hands and trusting your instinct.

Calamansi Squares
Makes 16 pieces of 2x3 slices


INGREDIENTS:

For the crust
  • 1¾ cup all purpose flour 
  • ¼ cup cornstarch 
  • 2/3 cup confectioners’ sugar 
  • ¾ tsp. salt 
  • ¾ cup soft butter, sliced into cubes 
  • ¼ tsp. vanilla extract (optional) 

For the calamansi curd fillings 
  • 4 whole raw eggs 
  • 1 cups granulated sugar 
  • 3 tbsps. all purpose flour 
  • 1/3 cup calamansi juice 
  • 1 tsp. calamansi zest 
  • 1/3 cup milk 
  • extra confectioners’ sugar for dusting 

PROCEDURE: 
  1. Preheat the oven to 350ºF (175ºC). Grease with shortening and line with baking sheet the bottom and sides of an 8X12-inch (approx. 2 inches high) rectangular baking pan. Set aside. 
  2. Prepare the ingredients for the crust. In a large bowl sift and combine the all purpose flour, cornstarch, confectioners’ sugar and salt. Add the butter and vanilla extract (optional). Hand mix or pulse in a food processor until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Refrigerate for 20 minutes to firm up. 
  3. Press the mixture on the bottom of the prepared pan. Even out the surface with the flat base of a glass. Use a spoon on the hard to reach areas particularly the corners. Bake the crust for 20 minutes until lightly brown. Remove from the oven and reduce the oven temperature to 325ºF (170ºC). 
  4. For the fillings, whisk in a clean bowl until well-incorporated the eggs, granulated sugar, all purpose flour, calamansi juice and zest, and milk. 
  5. Pour the mixture into the crust and bake for 20 minutes or until the calamansi curd is firm to touch. Remove from the oven and allow to cool at room temperature. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. 
  6. Cut into even slices and sprinkle the top with the extra confectioners’ sugar. 

TIPS FROM ENZ: 
  1. You may soften the tartness by reducing the amount of calamansi juice and substituting it with proportional amount of lemon or orange juice. 
  2. Use a well-greased and lined baking pan and take time to refrigerate before slicing the lime dessert into bars to achieve perfect cuts.

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