There’s nothing I like better than being able to use the fresh fruit that beckons me from the market. In this particular case, that fruit was raspberries. Bright, red, juicy raspberries were staring at me, just begging to be turned into something even more delightful than they already were on their own. I’m also a big fan of anything in bar form. The convenience of handheld food is always a plus. Although, I suppose despite their bar form, one could delve in with a fork as well.
For these bars, I think such a utensil might be useful since these raspberry bars are just oozing with sweet, slightly tart jam and fresh fruit. Those plump raspberries sit atop a shortbread crust and get enveloped in a custardy filling that seems akin to a cheesecake filling.
The custard filling has cream cheese as well as goat cheese. I personally love goat cheese… I mean, I really love it! But when I saw that this recipe called for it I kinda scrunched up my nose and thought… “Huh?” However, I went with it and I must say that the goat cheese is certainly not the prominent flavor and it adds a little bit of a savory taste to these bars. In fact, I think it really balances everything so that they aren’t too sweet. Then with the addition of fresh raspberries and some lemon zest, it all comes together to form sweet perfection.
So get ye to the farmers market and find some plump raspberries!
Fresh Raspberries Bars from Better Homes & Gardens (May 2011)
1 c. unsalted butter cut into 1″ chunks
1/4 c. packed light brown sugar
1/2 tsp kosher salt
2 c. all-purpose flour
softened butter, for brushing side of foil
3/4 c. seedless raspberry jam or preserves
1 pint (2 cups) of fresh raspberries
4 oz. cream cheese, softened
4 oz. goat cheese (or another 4 oz. cream cheese, softened)
1/2 c. granulated sugar
1 Tbsp all-purpose flour
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
2 Tbsp lemon zest
2 Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 tsp vanilla
powdered sugar for dusting
– Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a 13x9x2-inch baking pan with a sheet of aluminum foil, leaving extra foil extending over the ends which will later be used to lift the bars from the pan. **I’ve also made this recipe by lining the bottom of the baking dish with a rectangle of parchment paper and skipping the foil. If you want to simply cut your bars in their dish instead of lifting them out, this method works but doesn’t result in the same neat squares as when the foil method is used. Still butter the sides of the dish or spray with a non-stick cooking spray.**
– In a large bowl, beat the butter with an electric mixer on medium speed until it just begins to blend and soften, about 30 seconds.
– Add brown sugar and salt, beat on low speed until just incorporated, 30 seconds to 1 minute. Add 2 cups of flour. Beat on low until the flour is incorporated then increase the speed to medium and mix until the ingredients form an even, cohesive dough.
– Break the dough into small chunks and press into the bottom of the prepared pan in an even layer. Bake for 20 minutes. Cool on a wire rack for 5 minutes.
– Lightly brush the exposed foil with softened butter. Spread the jam evenly over the crust. Sprinkle evenly with the fresh raspberries.
– In a large bowl beat the cream cheese and goat cheese with an electric mixer on medium speed for about 30 seconds. Mix in the granulated sugar and 1 tablespoon of flour until blended. With the mixer running, add the egg, egg yolk, lemon zest, lemon juice and vanilla. Beat until smooth.
– Pour the custard batter evenly over the berries. Tilt the pan back and forth to evenly distribute.
– Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes or until the custard is barely set.
– Cool on a wire rack for 1 hour and then transfer to the refrigerator. Chill for 2 hours.
– Use the foil to lift the bars from the pan. Gently peel the foil down and away from the bars. Cut into long bars, peel the foil from the bottom and transfer to a cutting board. Next, cut the bars into smaller squares.
– Sprinkle lightly with powdered sugar.