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Marjie's lemon shortcake

With Simon Holst

This recipe is made all the more delicious for us, knowing that in true time honoured fashion it was passed on to us by a long time family friend, Marjie.

For 12-16 servings:
Cost per serving: $0.40
Time to prepare: about 60 minutes

Base & Topping Ingredients:

1 cup self-raising flour
1 cup standard (plain) flour
1 cup sugar
100g cold butter
1 large egg, lightly beaten
2 Tbsp milk

Filling Ingredients:
100g butter
2 lemons, grated rind and juice
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs, lightly beaten


Heat oven to 180C (170C fanbake), with rack just below the middle. Line the base and sides of an 18x28cm cake pan with baking paper.

To make the base, mix the sifted flours and sugar in a bowl. Grate in the cold butter, then rub it in until it looks like instant oats (or chop in butter cubes in a food processor). Make a well in the centre and add the lightly beaten egg. Add just enough milk so that particles will stick together when pressed, making a dough. Press half this over bottom of pan, keeping the rest to crumble on top.

To Make the filling: melt butter in a medium-sized pot. Take off heat. Beat in the grated lemon rind and juice, sugar and eggs, then heat again, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens to a pouring custard. Take off heat as soon as first bubbles form. Pour it evenly over the base and crumble remaining dough mixture on top.

Bake for 35-45 minutes, until golden brown, with centre almost as firm as the edges. Remove from loose bottomed pan and leave to cool.

Versatility is always good in a recipe, and this one is no exception. The shortcake is delicious cut into larger squares, dusted with icing sugar and served warm for dessert, with whipped cream or ice-cream, but it's also delicious served cold in smaller pieces with tea or coffee. (To store, arrange in a single layer in a loosely covered container, or refrigerate in an airtight container for longer periods).

(TX: 12 July 2011)