As a child, I remember not liking lemon or lime desserts very much. However, as I got older, I began to appreciate the wonderful flavors of citrus. A bit of lemon or lime is such an amazing flavor enhancer to some dishes. In the summertime when the heat is almost unbearable, what’s more refreshing than a glass of cold lime juice or lemonade? Citrus flavors are tangy and delicious and they also make great pie fillings.
I wanted to make a dessert where the lemons were the highlight. I am not a big fan of key lime pie as I find it too sweet and too tart. For this reason, I wanted to make a lemon bar which was a bit different from the traditional. The addition of a cream cheese mixture to the filling creates a thicker more mellow filling than the regular lemon bars. The flavor of the lemons is still quite evident, and although it may seem to be a cheesecake, it is not as fluffy or dense.
These bars firm up when cool and can be served warm or cold. If you like cherry pie or strawberry topping, you can also serve these bars with a bit of fruit atop.
I hope you enjoy this summer citrus bar.
Lemon Cream Cheese Bars
3 lemons juiced and zested. Reserve a bit to sprinkle on the top before baking.
1 1/2 cups sugar
8 oz cream cheese
2 tbsp flour
1 tbsp heavy cream
1 tsp almond essence
1 cup butter, slightly softened
1/2 cup sugar
2 cups all purpose flour
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a medium bowl, blend softened butter with sugar. When sugar granules begin to melt, add the flour and incorporate together.
Press the cookie base into a 9”x 13” ungreased pan.
Bake for about 15-20 minutes or until golden brown.
While cookie base is in the oven, start the filling.
In a medium bowl, place cream cheese and sugar and mix together with an electric mixer. Add the eggs one after the other and beat until fluffy.
Add the lemon zest, almond essence and lemon juice into the cream cheese mixture.
Sift in the flour and mix into cream cheese. Add the tablespoon of heavy cream to mixture. Pour the filling into the cookie base. Sprinkle reserved lemon zest on the top.
Return the pan to the oven and bake for 20 minutes.
Cut into slices when cool. You can eat these bars as they are or if you like, you may also serve with cherry pie filling.
Makes about 18 bars