Saturday, April 10, 2010

Blueberry Cheesecake Bars

Man, it's been a long and stressful week. In the last 3 days I have done the following: attended the last few classes of my law school career, wrapped up all my cases for clinic, stayed awake for 38 hours straight to do work, and written an 8000 word paper in one day. I am tired. My body really isn't as resilient as it used to be.

But this week hasn't been all bad. I got a job, for one thing. Far more universally exciting though -- my friend Emily finally opened her Etsy shop! The picture above is an example of one of the adorable, hand-sewn Iphone/Ipod cases currently on sale on her website. As her artistic director and designer, I can tell you that everything is awesome, and she'll be coming out with more options in the very near future (pencil pouches, wallets, etc.). Check out the rest of her wares at Emerlina Designs.

OK, back to the blueberry cheesecake bars. I really need to get a bigger food processor. Or a pastry cutter. Any time I need to make some type of crust, I end up having to crumb everything by hand with a fork because my mini-food processor is so small that it would take forever to do the job. My hands get so tired...

In Julie & Julia, after a bad day at work, Julie makes a chocolate pie and says to her husband: "I love that after a day when nothing is sure, and when I say nothing, I mean nothing, you can come home and absolutely know that if you add egg yolks to chocolate, and sugar and milk, it will get thick. It's such a comfort." I know what you mean, Julie! It's such a comfort to know that any time I beat together cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla, I'll get something fantastically delicious in no time at all. 

This recipe is super simple: it's just a layer of shortbread that's slathered with blueberry preserves and topped with cheesecake batter. I didn't think that would look very pretty though (we eat with our eyes, too!), and there were some frozen blueberries taking up space in the freezer, so I syrup-ified them and tossed them into the cheesecake too.

Pretty, right? Alright, so I went a little overboard with the swirling. I never know when to stop -- I usually just keep right on dragging the fork through the batter until the colors look less marbled and more muddy. But I managed to exert a little self-restraint this time and stopped before the whole thing turned into a murky, pale-purple mess.

Mmm. This turned out really well. The shortbread was buttery and delicious, the cheesecake part wasn't too sweet, and blueberries are tasty in any incarnation. I know calories don't count during finals, but I really need to get this out of my apartment before I inhale it all in one sitting...

Blueberry Cheesecake Bars (Recipe from Epicurious)

(Shortbread crust)
- 1-1/2 sticks butter, cold and cut up into small pieces.
- 2 cups flour
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 tsp salt

(Cheesecake batter)
- 16 oz cream cheese
- 2 large eggs
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 3/4 cup blueberry preserves

(1) Preheat oven to 350.
(2) Combine butter, flour, brown sugar and salt, pulse in food processor (or with a fork in bowl) until crumbly. Press into the bottom of a 13x9x2 pan. Bake for 20 minutes, until golden.
(3) While the shortbread is baking, beat the cream cheese until smooth, then add eggs, sugar, and vanilla. Set aside.
(4) Pull the shortbread out of the oven. Slather with a thin layer of preserves while still hot.
(5) Pour cheesecake batter over the shortbread and preserves in the pan.
(6) Bake for 30 minutes, until the top of the cheesecake has become slightly puffy.
(7) Stick everything in the fridge for about an hour to cool off and firm up. Eat!


pineapplebread said...

You have a job?? Congrats~~~ Where are ya gonna be? Is that why you're up in MA?


I'll be in DC this summer... will you be around at all? Can we hang... and eat? :D

Tina said...

I'll be working at the DC Superior Court starting in September, and I'll be in DC studying for the bar all summer, so...yes! Let's hang and eat!