Tuesday, March 06, 2007

If a cheesecake and lemon bar got together... this would be their baby!

I wonder how many recipes we have tried out now for the Weekly Wednesday Treat Day that Jeff brings in to share with his co-workers! That is one thing I love about keeping the site updated, I can go back and check out all of the things we have made... one of these days I'll have to go through and see just how many we've done! This week's treat is sweet, tart and charged up with a strong lemon twang.

A tender, buttery, and nutty crust forms the base of these Creamy Lemon Pecan Bars. Be sure to toast the pecans and allow them to cool before you add them to the base mixture - besides bringing out their flavor, toasting crisps them up and gives the nuts a pleasant bite against the creamy concoction on top. Once the crust has gone in for a quick pre-bake to firm up, a combination of cream cheese, granulated sugar, eggs and a touch of flour is mixed together with fresh lemon juice and lemon zest stirred in to stimulated the palate. To ensure that this is completely smooth, it is essential that the cream cheese is at room temperature so it will not create little lumps when you go to beat it - I usually leave it out at least 3 or 4 hours before I'm going to use it. After it has baked and cooled, we gave the top a light dusting of confectioners' sugar for a final touch of sweetness. We noticed a rush of fresh lemon flavor that filled our mouth at first bite with a creamy and smooth texture following. Almost like a cheesecake mashed together with a zesty lemon bar - the firm crust with the crisp bits of pecans was just the right platform to anchor this dessert together.

Tonight's dinner, Ham and Swiss Rösti, is a lighter take on a traditional Swiss side dish. However, this version has a few added ingredients to make it substantial enough to serve as the main portion of a meal. This is basically a big ol' comforting potato pancake filled with chunky diced ham and covered with buttery and mild Jarlsberg cheese. To make this meal truly a snap to throw together, I used par-cooked shredded potatoes that you find in the refrigerated section in the market - you could even use the frozen variety if you prefer. Once you pat the mixture into the skillet, make sure to give it enough time to get a deep golden crust on the bottom to help it hold together. The addition of a large egg also helps hold the giant round in one piece to make flipping a little easier - it may seem a little daunting to try and get the thing out of the pan to flip, but just take your time and be confident.

If it does happen to come apart - just pat it back together as best as you can and it will finish cooking just fine... no one will know after you cut it into wedges anyway!


  1. I have some walnuts in the fridge already; the taste would be different, I suppose, but do you think those would do? I might make a half-batch in an 8 x 8 pan to find out. Thanks, Joe!

  2. If a cheesecake and lemon bar got together??? Joe, you must stop such filthy "food porn" posts. ;)

    Both of these recipes look fantastic.

  3. Jen - I suspect walnuts would be just as delicious!

    Mindy - Hee hee!