Sunday, August 22, 2010

Lemon Blueberry Cheesecake Bars

Blueberries have to be one of my favorite summer fruits to snack on. I have fond memories of them growing up.  A few of them are of my family going out with ice-cream buckets to a field of blueberries, who knows where, and collecting them. One for the bucket, one for me, one for the bucket, two for me. I’m actually surprised any got in the bucket. I can’t even remember what we did with the blueberries after we picked them. I do remember my Mom made a lot of jam when I was growing up, so perhaps it went into blueberry jam.

The most common memory though was of sweat dripping down my forehead while hiking up local mountains on hot summer days, and spotting the bushes along the trail. What better excuse to stop our journey then to snack on luscious blueberries then the berry that looks as though it’s frosted in a light coating of ice and melts like ice in your mouth oozing that wonderful blueberry flavour.

When I moved to the island I discovered that blueberry bushes were not all that common. In fact Victoria was covered in blackberry bushes. I found a new love, but still have a sweet spot for the first berry that was so abundant in Northern BC.

A coworker of mine bought a large box or crate of blueberries from a nearby farm and shared some with me. I love blueberries, but other than throwing them in muffins or pancakes I’m at a bit of loss of what to do with them. Thinking I’d find some sort of blueberry cake pudding to convert into a gluten free recipe, I searched the net and was sold on the first blueberry recipe I came across. Lemon Blueberry Cheesecake bars.

Lemon Blueberry Cheesecake Bars
-Adapted from Readers Digest

2 cups Almond Flour
½ cup shredded unsweetened Coconut
¼ teaspoon Baking Powder
¼ teaspoon Baking Soda
¼ teaspoon Salt
2 tablespoons melted Margarine
2 tablespoons Grape Oil
1/3 cup Sugar
1 large Egg
1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract

1-½ bars of Cream Cheese (375g)
½ cup Sugar
1 tablespoon Arrowroot Powder
2 Eggs
Zest of one Lemon
1 ½ teaspoon Vanilla Extract
3 cups Blueberries (fresh or frozen)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and spray a 9x13 glass-baking dish with Pam (or oil or butter). To make the crust mix all of the liquid ingredients in a blender (margarine, oil, egg, vanilla extract) and sugar until well mixed. Then add in dry ingredients (almond flour, coconut, baking soda, baking powder and salt) until thoroughly combined. Transfer to baking dish with spatula and smooth out to make a base crust for your cheesecake bars. Place in oven and bake for 20 minutes. While the crust is baking blend together cream cheese, sugar, arrowroot powder (mix in a bit of water first and pour in as a liquid so it doesn’t get clumpy), lemon zest and vanilla extract. You can use the left over lemon and make homemade lemonade!

Once the crust is slightly golden and puffed up a bit remove from the oven. Place blueberries on the crust and then pour the cream cheese topping evenly over the blueberries. Return baking dish to the oven for 35-40 minutes until cheesecake has set. Cool completely before cutting and store in the fridge for up to 4 days or in the freezer for one month.

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