Thursday, July 9, 2009
BLUEBERRY CHEESECAKE BARS FOR TYLER FLORENCE FRIDAYS
TGIF, which also means TFF (Tyler Florence Fridays). If you're new to TFF, you're in for a treat. It's the day our hosts, Deb of Kahakai Kitchen; Natasha of Living in the Kitchen with Puppies; and, Megan of My Baking Adventures do a round up of what a few of us Tyler devotees have been cooking this week. Please visit the link for Tyler Florence Fridays to see for yourselves why we love Tyler.
At last, the Hammonton, New Jersey blueberries have hit the local supermarkets. I bought a large container of them last weekend to make my flag cake, then froze the leftovers. Speaking of leftovers, Larry was happy to learn that aside from some packages of hamburgers and hot dogs that we vacuum sealed and one portion of a 3-cheese lasagna I made recently, we have used up our cache of leftovers. Because of our "heat and eat" week, it was a no-brainer to make a dessert for Tyler Florence Fridays. I was pleased to find on the Food Network website, a very simple blueberry cheesecake bar.
When the health benefits of blueberries became news a few years ago, I couldn't have been more delighted. Blueberries may very well be the perfect fruit. They make a container of Greek yogurt taste like dessert. They perk up a bowl of oatmeal more than any other addition I can think of. Toss a handful of frozen blueberries into your breakfast smoothie and you're set until lunch. They made Ina's cream cheese buttercream icing taste even more delicious (if that's even possible) and were a wonderful topping for last Sunday's Swedish pancakes. Today they are starring in Tyler's super-easy, super-fast, super-scrumptious cheesecake bars.
Be sure to follow the instructions for preparing the pan so you can just lift them out in one piece to cool. I love lemon, so the zest and juice of 2 lemons was just right for me. Most of the reviews for this dessert were positive, though a few people noted they didn't like the amount of citrus flavor. I'm guessing they used bottled lemon juice and not fresh. I found the citrus amount a perfect counterpoint to the sweetness of the cream cheese and sugar mixture.
For the base:
butter, for greasing
2 tbs sugar
1/8 tsp ground cinnamon
9 graham crackers
1/2 stick unsalted butter, melted
For the filling:
16 oz cream cheese, room temperature
2 lemons, zested and juiced
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups fresh blueberries
powdered sugar for dusting
Preheat oven to 325 degrees
For the base:
Grease the bottom of a 9X9 inch baking pan with butter. Then place parchment paper over the top, pressing down at the corners. In a food processor, process the sugar, cinnamon, and graham crackers until you have the texture of bread crumbs. Add the melted butter and pulse a couple of times to fully incorporate. Pour into the lined baking pan and gently pat down with the base of a glass. Bake in the oven 12 minutes, until golden. Set aside to cool.
For the filling:
Add cream cheese, eggs, lemon zest, lemon juice, and sugar to the food processor and mix until well combined. If should have a smooth consistency. Pour onto the cooled base and cover with blueberris. They will sink slightly, but still will be half exposed--as the cake bakes, they will sink a little more and break down.
Bake in the oven for 35 minutes or until the center only slightly jiggles. Remove from the oven and cool completely before refrigerating for at least 3 hours. Once set, remove from the pan using the parchment lining and slice as desired. Dust with powdered sugar.