Classic Lemon Squares Recipe

July 2, 2019

Mary Grace has slowly become an iconic cafe, serving up dishes in an atmosphere that makes you feel like you’re at home. Their ensaymadas and cheese rolls have turned into classic pastries, even turning into a morning staple, or one eaten during Christmas. It is however, their inimitable lemon squares that are the star of their simple menu, which has led many to wonder how to recreate this small, sweet and acidic tart at home.

MG Lemon Squares Food Hack1

Lemon squares is about two main components: the lemon curd filling, and the flaky, shortbread-like crust. Creating a curd requires the thickness of yolks, and the tartness of lemon juice, setting into a thick consistency, which is still as wobbly and jellylike as a panna cotta. The Pepper recipe stays very similar to that of Mary Grace, urging you to recreate some simple memories of your own in your very own kitchen.

MG Lemon Squares Food Hack2

Classic Lemon Squares

Total Time: 90 minutes
Yield: 2 dozen

Ingredients: Crust

  • 1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup powdered (confectioner’s) sugar
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Lightly grease a 13 x 9-inch baking pan and line with wax paper extending from the
  3. sides of the pan.
  4. Combine flour, powdered sugar, cornstarch and salt. Cut in the butter using a fork, 2 knives or hand (food processor if available) until mixture becomes coarse.
  5. Sprinkle mixture into the prepared baking pan and press firmly into an even layer.
  6. Refrigerate for about 30 minutes and then bake until golden brown. Remove from oven, let cool slightly.
  7. Reduce temperature to 325 degrees F.

Ingredients: Lemon Filling

  • 4 large eggs, beaten lightly
  • 1-1/3 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 3 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp lemon zest, finely-grated 
  • 2/3 cup lemon juice, freshly-squeezed
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp powdered sugar, for sprinkling


  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs, sugar, and flour; stir in lemon zest, lemon juice, milk, and salt to blend well.
  2. Pour mixture onto top of the baked warm crust.
  3. Bake for 20 minutes, or until the filling has set. Remove from oven and cool for 30 minutes.
  4. Carefully lift the bars by holding the extended wax paper from the sides and transfer to a cutting board.
  5. Cut and sprinkle with confectioners’ sugar.
  6. Serve.
Pamela Cortez Pamela Cortez

Pamela Cortez writes about food full-time, and has honed her craft while writing for publications such as Rogue, Town and Country, and The Philippine Star. She once rode on a mule for a mile just to eat mint tea and lamb in Morocco, and has eaten a block of Quickmelt in one sitting. Her attempt at food photography can be viewed online @meyarrr.

6 comments in this post SHOW

6 responses to “Classic Lemon Squares Recipe”

  1. Ara Marie says:

    Hi Pamela! How much milk should be used in the filling? It’s not on the ingredient list. Thanks for this recipe! 🙂

  2. janellido says:

    1/8 teaspoon salt Powdered (confectioner’s) for sprinkling

    something’s missing here…

  3. kc says:

    Mary grace’s recipe is cakey and not gooey in the middle (cracked top , cakey filling, and flaky crust. you got the flaky crust, but filling is gooey. How can it be made “cakey”? thanks. 🙂

    • Yrwin Ty says:

      I think you can whip the egg whites a little to give the cakey texture until soft or stiff peaks form then lightly fold in the lemon curd!

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