So...I took a blogging break last week. (You should see how clean my house is.) And I happily missed out on the Blogger issues, so that was nice.
Along with getting my house spic and span, I also tried out a new recipe on my book club. I know I have posted a lot of recipes lately, but these lemon-berry bars are honestly the best thing I have ever baked! I had to share.
They have shortbread on the bottom, a layer of jam and berries, with lemon-cream cheese custard on top. YES, PLEASE.
(adapted from Scott Peacock's Fresh Raspberry Bars, BHG magazine, May 2011)
1 cup butter (2 sticks) cut into 1 inch chunks
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
2 cups all purpose flour
softened butter (for brushing sides of foil)
3/4 cup seedless raspberry jam - You could easily sub another flavor.
2 cups fresh or frozen raspberries - I used frozen mixed berries that I thawed to room temp. Worked great! Use whatever berries you like or are on sale, etc.
8 oz. package cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup white sugar
1 Tablespoon all purpose flour
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
zest from 1 lemon
2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
powdered sugar for garnish
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 13x9 baking pan with a long sheet of aluminum foil, leaving extra foil over the ends (you'll use the foil to lift the bars out of the pan later). Set aside.
In a large bowl, beat the butter with a mixer (I used my Kitchen Aid.) on medium-high speed until it begins to soften, about 30 seconds. Add brown sugar, beat on low speed until incorporated, about 30 seconds to a minute. Add 2 cups of flour. Beat on low speed until incorporated. Increase speed to medium, mix until ingredients form more of a cohesive dough. It's hard to overmix because of the amount of butter, so don't be afraid to mix well. (Mine seemed a bit crumbly until I squeezed it in my hand--it held together well.)
Press dough into even layer in the bottom of your pan. Bake 20 minutes until dough has begun to puff and is just set. Cool on wire rack 5 minutes.
Lightly brush exposed sides of foil with butter to keep filling from sticking. Spread jam evenly over crust then sprinkle evenly with berries.
Zest and juice lemon. In a large bowl, beat cream cheese on medium-high for 30 seconds. Mix in sugar and flour until blended. With mixer running, add egg, egg yolk, lemon zest, lemon juice, and vanilla. Beat until smooth.
Pour custard batter evenly over berries. Bake for 25-30 minutes until barely set. Cool on wire rack for 1 hour. Cover and transfer to refrigerator. Chill 2 hours. Top may crack slightly as it cools.
Use foil to lift bars from pan; place on cutting board. Support the sides of bars as you carefully peel down the foil. Cut into 24 bars. (Cutting on the foil results in cleaner edges.) Lift each bar from foil onto serving surface. Lightly dust with powdered sugar.