Light in texture and with the fresh flavours of oranges and lemons, these squares make perfect party food.
- For the topping:
- 2 medium oranges
- 2 lemons
- 250g (8oz) granulated sugar
- For the base:
- 150g (5oz) plain flour
- 30g (1oz) icing sugar, sifted
- 200g (7oz) butter
- 2 medium egg yolks
- For the filling:
- 3tbsp apricot jam, warmed
- 125g (4oz) caster sugar
- 2 medium eggs
- 125g (4oz) self-raising flour
A day ahead of making the cake, slice the oranges and lemons very thinly and put them into separate bowls. Pour 450ml (¾ pint) cold water into each bowl. Cover bowls and leave fruit to soak overnight.
The next day, strain the water from the fruit into separate saucepans and add 125g (4oz) granulated sugar to each pan. Stir each pan over a moderate heat until the sugar dissolves, then bring to the boil and boil for 1 min.
Cook the orange slices very gently in the orange syrup and the lemon slices in the lemon syrup for 30-40 mins, until soft but not broken up. Remove from the heat and set aside. Meanwhile, set the oven to fairly hot, 200°C (400°F, gas mark 6).
Sift the plain flour and icing sugar into a bowl and rub in 90g (3oz) of the butter until mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add the egg yolks and mix until they start to combine. Tip into a 26 x 16.5cm (10 ¼ x 6½ in) tin, lined with baking parchment,
and press down well to form an even layer for the base. Prick evenly with a fork.
Bake in the centre of the oven for 15 mins. Remove from the oven and spread with warmed jam. Reduce the oven temperature to moderate, 180°C (350°F, gas mark 4).
Cream the remaining butter with the caster sugar until light and creamy, then beat in the eggs, one at a time. Fold in the self-raising flour and then spread evenly over the cooked pastry and jam. Bake in the centre of the oven for 30-35 mins until cooked.
Strain the syrup from both the orange and the lemon slices into one saucepan. Bring to the boil and boil rapidly until reduced by about half and the syrup becomes slightly thickened. Arrange the orange and lemon slices on top of the sponge and then spoon the reduced syrup over the top to glaze. Slice into squares when cold.
Keep your ingredients, bowl and utensils cold when making pastry. This prevents the fat from melting and making your pastry greasy instead of crumbly.