Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Blackberry and Goat Cheese Bars

I love seeing all the fresh berries at the market each weekend and have enjoyed baking with blackberries lately, including the peach and blackberry tart I recently made. I could just sit and eat a whole bowl of berries or, better yet, cover them in custard and eat them.

These bars consisted of a shortbread crust, a layer of blackberry jam, and then the fresh berries drenched in a custard made with cream cheese and goat cheese.  I think they're supposed to be for dessert, but they were breakfast for my team meeting one morning. They weren't complaining.

Blackberries are so pretty. Last year, I made little meringue shells for them.

And, then the downpouring of custard.  And, not just any custard, but custard with goat cheese, fresh lemon juice and fresh lemon zest.

They're so good together.

The finished product...for dessert or breakfast.

Recipe for Blackberry and Goat Cheese Bars
Adapted from a recipe by Scott Peacock in BHG

1C. unsalted butter (2 sticks) cut into 1-inch chunks
1/4 C. packed light brown sugar 
1/2 t. salt
2 C. unbleached all-purpose flour
Softened butter (for brushing sides of foil)
1 C. blackberry jam or preserves
1 pint (2 cups) fresh blackberries
1/2 - 8-oz. pkg. cream cheese, softened
4 oz. goat cheese
1/2 C. granulated sugar
1 T. unbleached all-purpose flour
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
2 T. finely shredded lemon zest
2 T. freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 t. pure vanilla
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 13x9x2-inch baking pan with a 24-inch-long sheet of aluminum foil, leaving extra foil extending over ends (use these later to lift bars from pan); set aside. In a large bowl beat the butter with an electric mixer on medium to high speed until it just begins to blend and soften slightly, about 30 seconds. Add brown sugar and salt, beat on low speed until incorporated, 30 seconds to 1 minute. With mixer off, add the 2 cups flour. Beat on low speed until flour is incorporated. Increase speed to medium, mix until ingredients form an even, cohesive dough.
Break dough into small chunks and distribute in prepared pan; with your fingers press dough into an even layer. Bake 20 minutes or until dough has begun to puff and is just set. Cool on wire rack 5 minutes.
Lightly brush exposed sides of foil with softened butter to keep filling from sticking. Spread jam evenly over crust.
Sprinkle evenly with blackberries.
With a lemon zester, remove peel from lemon, making sure to avoid bitter white pith.
In a large bowl beat cream cheese and goat cheese with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Mix in granulated sugar and 1 tablespoon 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. Tilt pan back and forth to distribute evenly. Bake at 350 degrees F for 25 to 30 minutes or until barely set. Transfer to a wire rack until completely cool, about 1 hour; cover and transfer to refrigerator. Chill 2 hours. Top will crack slightly as it cools.
Use foil to lift the bars from pan. With a knife or metal spatula, support the sides of the bars while you gently peel the foil downward and away from sides of the bars.
Cut into long bars, peel foil from bottom, and transfer to cutting boars using side of a long knife or spatula. Cut into 24 squares

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