It was the dark of night and there I was in the kitchen making cheesecake bars to take to my July Food Bloggers Los Angeles meeting the next morning. Sometimes time doesn’t work in your favor. You get busy. You have lots of commitments. But I wanted to go to the FBLA meeting on Saturday morning with a yummy dish to share, so there I was at the last minute. Whew! Yes, it got done, but in the nick of time. It was still warm when I put it in the fridge for its overnight chill and I knew there would be condensation on the underside of the plastic wrap I’d covered it with. Just have to hope for the best. But it all worked out. Oh, it was soooo good.
Damn, but I love lemon curd. In this case, it is dolloped over the cheesecake batter and swirled into it with a butter knife.
I got a little carried away. The lemon curd was supposed to have about half of it still showing on the surface. Next time I’ll remember to do it the right way. I have to remember to just slow down and take a deep breath.
Here you can see the Lemon Swirl Cheesecake Bars glowing like the rays of the sun in the middle of the table, which is filled to the brim with delicious dishes. FBLA members do not mess around. The theme of this meeting was Summer Fruit, so the dishes were filled with peaches, plums, strawberries, nectarines and apricots. And you’re thinking to yourself… and Lynne brought one with lemons. Well, lemons are a summer fruit, aren’t they? So what if they’re also a spring, fall and winter fruit. Ok, ok, it was a big rationalization. *chuckle*
Lemon Swirl Cheesecake Bars
Makes 16 bars
1 cup all-purpose flour
¼ cup sugar
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
1 stick salted butter, cut into ½-inch pieces and chilled
1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons cornstarch
½ cup cold water
2 large egg yolks
¾ cup sugar
¼ cup fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
1 ¼ pounds cream cheese, softened
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
3 large eggs, at room temperature
¼ cup sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1. Make the crust: Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F and position rack in center. Butter a 9-inch square nonstick baking pan.
2. In a food processor, pulse flour with sugar, lemon zest and salt. Add butter and pulse until a soft, crumbly dough forms.
3. Press dough evenly over bottom and a scant ½-inch up the side of baking pan. Bake crust for 20-30 minutes, or until golden and firm.
4. Make the lemon curd: In a small bowl, dissolve cornstarch in water. In a medium saucepan, whisk egg yolks with ¾ cup sugar and lemon juice. Whisk in cornstarch mixture and cook over moderate heat, whisking gently, until sugar is dissolved and lemon mixture is hot, about 4 minutes.
5. Boil for 1 minute, whisking constantly, until mixture is thick and glossy, Strain lemon mixture into a heatproof bowl. Stir in lemon zest and let cool.
6. Make the cheesecake filling: In a large bowl, using electric mixer with paddle, beat cream cheese with 1 cup sugar until smooth.
7. Beat in flour until blended. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well between additions. Add sour cream and vanilla and beat until batter is smooth.
8. Pour cream cheese batter over crust and smooth the surface with a spatula.
9. Dollop lemon curd mixture on cheesecake batter and with a butter knife, carefully swirl it into the batter, taking care not to cut into crust.
10. Bake cheesecake for about 40 minutes, or until golden around edge and just set. Run tip of a knife around edge to loosen cheesecake from side of pan.
11. Let cool on wire rack for 1 hour, then refrigerate cheesecake until thoroughly chilled. Cut into 16 bars and serve.
Note: the cheesecake bars can be refrigerated in pan for up to 3 days.