Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Have I mentioned...

That I love lemon desserts?  I do not care for lemon candy, but give me a lemon dessert, and I'm in.  Also strange is that I don't prefer cheesecake.  It was never my thing until I had some that was really really good.  But even now, it's still not what I choose if given options.  However, lemon + cheesecake = divine! 

This dessert takes a delicious lemon cheesecake bar, and adds a wonderful crunchy creme brulee crust on the top.  So many good things happening in one little bar!  And, they were pretty simple to put together, and should actually be made ahead (except for the torching), so that's a plus.

Let's talk about the torching, shall we?  I have a small blow torch.  It's not one of those tiny "creme brulee" torches you find in housewares stores -- it's actually a little blow torch.  I don't get to use it often, so I get kind of excited when I get to pull it out.  When I made these bars, my excitement lasted approximately 1 minute, until the torch started to run out of fuel.  No big deal, I have more, so I refueled it.  I must have grossly underestimated the amount of fuel that either goes from the butane can into the torch, or the amount that was needed to burn the sugar, because I had to refuel so many times.  I think, at best, I could get through 2 bars before needing to refuel.  I got frustrated.  So for the last 3 bars, I thought I would just stick them under the broiler for a second and see how that worked.

Warning - when you use the broiler to torch sugar, DO NOT WALK AWAY! Not even for a second.  I did, and this is what happened:

So, let my sadness be a warning to you.  Keep close when  you use the broiler!  Good thing I only did 3 bars!

Lemon Cheesecake Creme Brulee Bars
Source: Lauren's Latest

1/2 cup softened butter
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
8 oz softened cream cheese
1-14 oz can sweetened condensed milk
1 egg
2 tablespoons lemon zest
6 tablespoons lemon juice
5 tablespoons fine granulated sugar for brulee-ing, approximately

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line at 8x8 inch glass dish with parchment paper and lightly spray with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside.

In a large bowl, combine butter, sugar, flour and vanilla until dough forms. Press evenly into the bottom of prepared dish. Set aside.

In another bowl, whip cream cheese.  Stir in sweetened condensed milk. Scrape sides and mix again. Pour in egg, lemon zest and juice. Mix until mixture starts to thicken, 20-30 seconds. Scrape sides and mix again briefly. Pour over cookie bottom and smooth the top. Bake 20-25 minutes or until cheesecake is set completely. Cool, then refrigerate. 

When completely cool, cut into 16 squares and separate (fp note: i found it easiest to lift the whole thing out of the pan using the parchment and then cut it.). Sprinkle the tops of each square with 1 teaspoon of sugar and spread around with your finger to evenly distribute sugar. Torch the tops until the sugar melts and turns an amber color. Return squares to the fridge until ready to serve.

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