The Sunday Recipe: Blueberry Lemon Cheesecake Bars

There is something about this time of year that turns my mind to cooking with lemon and blueberries. It’s perfect because the blueberries are just coming on and can be used while they are fresh and firm instead of defrosted with their juice oozing out. Some recipes are just better with fresh blueberries.

I thought of making my lemon bars then I saw a recipe for lemon blueberry bars and that sounded incredible, but the crust used a sugar cookie mix and the filling was a custard with only lemon zest for flavoring. So I came up with this recipe, combining a crust from my favorite lemon bars with the cheesecake filling I perfected, to my taste, last year. I hope you give it a try and I hope you enjoy it. #glutenfree #refinedsugarfree

Blueberry Lemon Cheesecake Bars

Ingredients

Crust

  • 1 ½ cups almond flour (About 160 grams)
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt

Filling

  • 1 ½ cups, washed and dried blueberries
  • 1 8-ounce block cream cheese
  • 1 large egg
  • ¼ cup maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon sour cream
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon tapioca or cornstarch

Directions

  1. Get out ingredients for the filling and allow to come to room temp. I often get them out before lunch then make the recipe after lunch. Alternatively, it will work to warm the cream cheese and maple syrup on low in the microwave for a minute or two. To warm the egg, place it in hot tap water for just ten minutes.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and prepare an 8 by 8 pan with cooking spray, butter, or oil, and line with parchment paper. (Wax paper also works.)
  3. Combine the crust ingredients and press into the prepared pan with your fingers, using the edge of your hand or a finger to press the crust up the side just a little.
  4. Bake for 12 minutes.
  5. While the crust is baking, combine all the ingredients for the filling, except the blueberries and tapioca flour, in a mixing bowl and whisk or use a mixer to beat until just smooth.
  6. Beat in the tapioca flour and set aside to rest.
  7. Remove the crust from the oven when it is ready and turn the temperature down to 300 degrees.
  8. Place the washed and dried blueberries into the bottom of the crust in a single layer. (I rolled the blueberries in my fingers a little as I chose them to make sure they were reasonably firm.)
  9. Pour the filling slowly over the blueberries, moving the bowl around to cover the blueberries without forcing them to move too much.
  10. Bake at 300 degrees for 30 minutes.
  11. Without opening the oven, turn the heat off and leave in the oven for another 30 minutes to finish baking.
  12. Remove from oven and allow to cool on the counter for an hour.
  13. Cool in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours and preferably overnight.
  14. Enjoy!

Peanut Butter Cheesecake Cups

I asked my husband if the peanut butter flavor was TOO light in these but we agreed that if it were stronger, it would quickly overpower. With this amount, you can taste it but easily eat the cup and kind of wish you had more.

For perfect cheesecake, everything has to be room temperature. Some people can remember to take things out ahead, I just grab everything and nuke it on low power. Except the egg. That I warm up in hot tap water for a few minutes.

Peanut Butter Cheesecake Cups

Ingredients

  • 1 8-ounce block cream cheese (preferably full fat (Philadelphia has been the most reliable but I’ve used lots of other brands.)
  • ¼ cup maple syrup (or honey or sugar)
  • ¼ cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 2 tablespoons sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions

  1. When you’re ready to cook, preheat the oven to 300 degrees.
  2. Set two cups of water to heat in the microwave on high for 2 minutes.
  3. Cut the cream cheese up into chunks in a bowl.
  4. Pour the maple syrup over the cream cheese.
  5. Microwave on medium power for one to two minutes, until it stirs easily with a wire whisk.
  6. Whisk together gently, side to side until everything is incorporated without any lumps.
  7. Stir in the room temp peanut butter, sour cream, and heavy cream.
  8. In a separate bowl, whisk the egg then incorporate into the cream cheese mixture.
  9. Stir in the vanilla extract.
  10. Divide the filling between four ramekins.
  11. Place the ramekins in a square tin or glass dish.
  12. Pour the water into the tin, around the ramekins.
  13. Carefully place in the oven.
  14. Bake for 30 minutes.
  15. Turn the oven off and set the timer for another 30 minutes.
  16. At the end of the hour, remove the tin from the oven.
  17. Use tongs to place the ramekins onto a towel. Alternatively, use a turkey baster to remove the water from the tin without taking the ramekins out.
  18. Allow to cool for 30 to 60 minutes then refrigerate for at least 3 hours.
  19. To make the chocolate ganache topping, place 1/3 cup of chocolate chips in a measuring cup.
  20. Pour just enough cream over the chocolate chips to bring it level with the top of the chocolate chips.
  21. Microwave on 50% power for 1 minute.
  22. Stir gently with a small whisk or fork until it comes together, this can take a few minutes.
  23. Divide over the chilled peanut butter cheesecakes, shake and turn to smooth to the edges.
  24. Enjoy!

Perfect Lemon (or Lime) Cheesecake Cups

Perfect Lemon (or Lime) Cheesecake Cups

We love cheesecake, but I prefer to make it without flour or cane sugar, and I like to make individual serving size cups too. To that end, I present you lovely little cheesecake cups in ramekins. If you have the old Pyrex fluted ½ cup ramekins, those work great too. Whatever you use needs to be oven proof.

For juice, I like Minute Maid frozen lemon juice but any other kind will work, fresh too. The flavor may just be a tiny bit more subtle. For the lime, I use key lime juice that I buy in a 16-ounce bottle in the grocery aisle. NOT sweetened. It’s shelf stable until opened then must be refrigerated. I freeze the whole bottle and take it out when I want to use some.

For perfect cheesecake, everything has to be room temperature or a little warm. It’s easy to get this with a microwave, but that doesn’t work for an egg. What to do? When I was learning to make macarons, I came across a simple tip. Place an egg from the fridge into a bowl of hot tap water for ten minutes. Voila, a room temp egg.

You can make this in just three ramekins for an extra-large portion. You can also place a good cookie, such as a butter short bread, in the bottom of each ramekin for a crust.

Ingredients

  • 1 8-ounce block cream cheese (preferably full fat (Philadelphia has been the most reliable but I’ve used lots of other brands.)
  • 4 Tablespoons maple syrup (or sugar if you prefer)
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 3 Tablespoons lemon or key lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon of tapioca flour, or cornstarch

Directions

  1. If you can remember, get your ingredients out a couple hours in advance.
  2. When you’re ready to cook, preheat the oven to 300 degrees.
  3. Set two cups of water to heat in the microwave on high for 2 minutes.
  4. Cut the cream cheese up into chunks in a bowl.
  5. Pour the maple syrup over the cream cheese.
  6. Microwave on medium power for one minute.
  7. Whisk together gently. Side to side until everything is incorporated without any lumps works best.
  8. In a separate bowl, whisk the egg then incorporate into the cream cheese and maple syrup.
  9. Stir in the lemon or lime juice.
  10. Whisk in the tapioca flour or cornstarch.
  11. Divide the filling between four ramekins.
  12. Place the ramekins in a square tin or glass dish.
  13. Pour the water into the tin, around the ramekins.
  14. Carefully place in the oven.
  15. Bake for 30 minutes.
  16. Turn the oven off and set the timer for another 30 minutes.
  17. At the end of the hour, remove the tin from the oven.
  18. Use tongs to place the ramekins onto a towel. Alternatively, use a turkey baster to remove the water from the tin without taking the ramekins out.
  19. Allow to cool for 30 to 60 minutes then refrigerate for at least 3 hours.
  20. Enjoy!