13 August 2013

Gluten-Free Blueberry Lemon Squares, fresh and non-smelly

I taught at a music camp for a few summers in grad school, and aside from the 1890s style uniforms and cabins so rustic you could see through the walls to the outside, the lemon squares were perhaps the most memorable recurring event in my life there.  The cafeteria staff did not exactly excel at cooking, but the baked goods were generally pretty edible.  The lemon squares were delicious--dense, chewy, and cloyingly sweet, just like the ones I ate in childhood.  But for some disturbing reason, they smelled like wet dog.  If you held your breath while taking a bite, the experience was heavenly, but that was the only way to avoid the unmistakable smell of a freshly dunked poodle who might have just emerged form the nearby lake.  It was weird and creepy, and as you might imagine, there were two distinct camps of eaters: those of us who didn't want to turn down free food held our noses, and those who spent most of their salaries off-campus eating fancy things like identifiable cuts of meat thought we were pretty pathetic for putting something that smelled like dog in our mouths.  

Lemon squares are ubiquitous in the Midwest, making most of their appearances at potlucks in church basements and lakeside picnics, where diners can be serenaded by the gentle hum of water skis being dragged by a 1983 fishing boat with an unreliable motor attached.  I missed those little guys from my days at music camp and before, but wanted to find a way to feel just a little less guilty about eating them.  Using wheat alternatives seemed like a good place to start.  The dog smell has never been a problem, and I think it's probably best if I don't explore what caused it in the first place. 

Gluten-Free Blueberry Lemon Squares

Makes 16 squares

1 1/2 cups rice flour
1/2 cup tapioca flour
1/2 cup almond flour
1/2 cup rolled oats
1 tsp baking powder
1 egg
3/4 cup organic sugar
3/4 softened butter
1 Tbsp of lemon zest

In a large bowl, mix together flour, oats, baking powder, sugar, lemon zest. Cut in butter and egg. Mix until dough is crumbly and all flour is well blended. Use about half of the dough to form the bottom crust of the squares. Line an 8x8 inch (20x20 cm) pan with parchment paper. Pat the dough down to form the crust.
Bake at 350F for 12 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool.

1 can of sweetened condensed milk (14oz)
2 egg yolks
1/2 cup of lemon juice
zest of one lemon
1 1/2 cups of fresh blueberries

In a medium bowl, mix condensed milk, egg yolks, and lemon juice well. Add in the lemon zest and blueberries. Stir gently. Pour the filling over the cooled crust. Spread evenly. With the left-over dough, crumble over the blueberry-lemon filling. Bake at 350F for 20 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool.
Refrigerate for an hour before cutting.