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  • Writer's pictureTommy Centola

Lemon squares, pecan pie that are superior

t has been awhile since I have shared with y’all an entire column dedicated to sweets. With everything going on around us, I figured that today would be a great time to feed your sweet tooth. I hope you are ready to put on your aprons and start baking some sweet treats for your family.

Today’s recipes are dishes you are probably familiar with. Lemon Squares and Pecan Pie are often found on tables across the South. It is easy to buy these desserts already made. You will get a better tasting result when you make them in your kitchen. Now, on to the recipes..

When it comes to desserts, lemon is my wife’s second favorite flavor; white chocolate is the first. Lemon squares are a refreshing way to end a meal. Of course, you could buy a mix at the store. However, it is just as easy to make from scratch and you get a superior tasting dessert. For a different take on this dish, substitute Key Lime juice for the lemon.

Lemon Squares

1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour, divided

1/3 cup plus 3 tablespoons powdered sugar, divided

1/3 cup margarine

1 1/3 cups sugar

1 tablespoon grated lemon zest

1 teaspoon baking powder

3 large egg whites

1 large whole egg

1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon lemon juice, divided

1/2 teaspoon butter extract

Preheat oven to 350℉.

Coat a 13x9x2-inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray. Combine 1 1/2 cups four and 1/3 cup of the powdered sugar in a bowl; cut in the margarine with a pastry blender or 2 knives until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Press the mixture firmly and evenly into the bottom of the baking dish. Bake for 20 minutes, or until lightly browned. Combine the sugar, 1/4 cup flour, the lemon zest, baking powder, egg whites and egg in a medium bowl and blend with a whisk. Stir in 1/3 cup lemon juice and the butter extract. Pour the mixture over the prepared crust. Bake for 20 minutes, or until set. In a small dish, combine the remaining 1/4 cup powdered sugar with the remaining 1 tablespoon of lemon juice to make a glaze. Spread the glaze over the hot lemon squares. Cool completely in the pan before serving.

I have always used corn syrup when making pecan pie. I was surprised when I ran across this recipe. I often use cane syrup in most of my recipes for a slightly different flavor. Now that I have made this substitution, I see no need to buy corn syrup.

Steen’s Pecan Pie

¼ cup butter

1 Tbsp all-purpose flour

1 Tbsp cornstarch

1 ½ cups Steen’s Pure Cane Syrup

½ cup sugar

2 eggs

1 cup pecans

1 tsp vanilla

¼ tsp salt

1 unbaked pie pastry shell

Preheat oven to 450℉.

In a heavy saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Add flour and cornstarch and stir until smooth. Add syrup and sugar. Bring to a boil. Boil three minutes. Remove from heat and allow the mixture to cool down. Beat eggs in a bowl, then add to the mixture along with pecans, vanilla and salt. Blend well; then spoon the mixture into unbaked pie shell. Bake for 10 minutes at 450 degrees. Reduce temperature to 350 degrees and bake 30-35 minutes. Remove from oven and place on rack to cool. Cut into slices and serve with Praline Sauce, which follows.

I was first introduced to Praline sauce at LeRuth’s restaurant. It was served over ice cream and pecans. It also makes a great accompaniment to pecan pie, which is how it is served at Brigtsen’s restaurant.

Praline Sauce

1 quart dark corn syrup

7 ounces sweetened condensed milk

3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon butterscotch syrup.

Mix all ingredients together. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 months.

Taking the time to make these desserts gives you a superior result. You can also show your family and friends some love. Take the time to make them something from your heart. Anyone can go to the store and buy a pre-made dessert.

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