Sunday, June 24, 2012

Lemon Curd Cheesecake Bars and a Visit

My friend, Barbara D., came to town last week.  We've visited back and forth since living in Charleston, S.C. when our sons met in second grade.  The boys were friends for many years but drifted apart as both families moved to different parts of the country.  Barbara and I, however, have remained resolute in keeping in touch and in having a summer visit.  We switch off being the hostess and never skip a beat in picking up where we left off the previous year.



Barbara and her ever-present smile.


We checked out Old Green Shutters on Main St.
Then headed next door for


lunch at Twelve Islands.



It was a beautiful day.


We sipped wine on the porch.


After dinner, we had coffee and The Baker's lemon curd cheesecake bars.
I can usually pass up cheesecake.  Not these bars, however.  From the shortbread-like crust to the delicious pockets of lemon curd, it is the best I've ever tasted.
His recipe is a clipping from the Chicago Tribune and the date is missing.  We've had it a number of times so it has been around for awhile.  

Give it a try!

Lemon Curd Cheesecake Bars 


Crust:


1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp grated lemon zest
1 stick salted butter cut into eight pieces and chilled

Filling:


1 Tbsp plus 2 tsp cornstarch
1/2 cup cold water
2 large egg yolks
1 3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tsp grated lemon zest
1 1/4 pounds cream cheese at room temp.
2 Tbsp flour
3 large eggs at room temp.
1/4 cup sour cream at room temp.
1 tsp vanilla

Crust:


Heat oven to 325.  Butter a 9" square pan.  Pulse the flour, sugar and lemon zest a few times in a food processor.  Add butter and pulse until a soft crumbly dough forms.  Press dough evenly over the bottom of the prepared pan.  Bake until golden brown--about 20 minutes.  Set aside to cool.

Filling:


Dissolve the cornstarch in the cold water.  Whisk the yolks with 3/4 cup of the sugar and the lemon juice in a small saucepan.  Whisk in the cornstarch mixture.  Cook over medium heat, whisking, until the sugar dissolves and the mixture is hot--3 to 4 minutes.  Raise the heat to medium-high and heat to a boil, whisking constantly.  Cook until mixture is thick and glossy--about one minute.  Strain into a bowl.  Stir in the lemon zest.  Cool.

Beat the cream cheese with the remaining cup of sugar with an electric mixer until smooth.  Beat in the flour until blended.  Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Add the sour cream and vanilla and beat until the batter is smooth.  Pour the batter over the cooled crust and smooth out.

Place the lemon mixture in large dollops over the cream cheese mixture and, using a knife, carefully swirl it into the batter.  Don't overdo this as you don't want the lemon mixture to incorporate into the cheese mixture but, rather, to form large pockets of lemon-curd deliciousness.

Bake until golden around the edges and just set.  Immediately run a knife around the edges and set aside to cool in the pan for about an hour.  Refrigerate to chill completely.

ENJOY!