Monday, July 4, 2011

Fruited Cheesecake Flag

Not to whine and complain (cause that just wouldn't be like me), but 4th of July just isn't as much fun as it was back in my little hometown.  There were rides, and food, and a parade.  I'm especially bummed since I've learned that parade now includes monkeys riding miniature donkeys.  

But I guess the day is what you make it, and the neighbors have already started their loud hippity hop music and fireworks.  Who could blame them it's only 110 today.  

So my day shall include this cookie based cheesecake flag and I shall cease and desist with the whining.  

I saw this at Mel's Kitchen Cafe and thought it was the cutest thing.  My son is a fan of cheesecake and berries, so he likes it especially much.  

Here's the recipe if you feel inclined to make it.

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 3/4 teaspoons salt
12 ounces (3 sticks) butter, softened
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons light-brown sugar
4 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, room temperature
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
4 large eggs, room temperature
8-9 ounces (1-2 cups) blueberries
1 pound strawberries, hulled and sliced lengthwise into thirds
12 ounces (3 cups) raspberries
Powdered sugar, for dusting

Coat a 13-by-18-inch rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray. Line with parchment, leaving a 2-inch overhang on the long sides. Coat parchment with cooking spray.
Sift flour and 1 3/4 teaspoons salt into a medium bowl. In a large bowl, cream the butter with a mixer on medium-high speed, occasionally scraping bowl, until fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes. With the mixer running, slowly add light brown sugar, beating until very pale and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add flour mixture all at once, and beat on low speed until just incorporated.
Transfer the dough to the prepared baking sheet. Press the dough into an even layer that covers the bottom of the sheet. Cover and refrigerate until firm, about 20 minutes. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Bake the dough until the entire surface is golden brown, about 30-35 minutes. Let the cookie base cool completely in the baking sheet. Raise oven temperature to 350 degrees F.
In a large bowl, beat the softened cream cheese with a mixer on medium speed, occasionally scraping bowl, until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Reduce speed to low and add granulated sugar in a slow, steady stream. Scrape the bowl, then mix in lemon zest, vanilla and a pinch of salt until well combined. Scrape the bowl, then beat in the eggs, 1 at a time, until incorporated. The mixture should be very smooth; scrape the bowl as necessary. Pour the cheesecake batter over the crust and spread into an even layer.
Bake the cheesecake until the filling is set, about 20-25 minutes. Let the cheesecake cool completely in the baking sheet. Refrigerate until firm and cold, about 4 hours (or overnight).
Run a sharp knife along short sides of sheet, and use the parchment overhangs to lift out the cheesecake. Run the knife under hot water and dry well. Use it to cut the cheesecake into 48 squares, wiping the knife clean between cuts.
Transfer squares to a serving platter, reforming the rectangle. Decorate the top left squares (3 down and 4 across), with a mound of blueberries on each square. Use raspberries (about 4 per square) to decorate the 1st, 3rd and 5th rows (the 1st and 3rd rows are shorter rows since part of them are decorated with blueberries). Decorate the remaining rows in one of two ways: either dust them with powdered sugar for a completely white row or place three cut strawberries on each square and dust the tops of the strawberries with powdered sugar. If using this method (to dust the strawberries with powdered sugar), dust the strawberries immediately before serving as the powdered sugar will begin to dissolve into the juiciness of the strawberries.
Serve immediately (or refrigerate for up to 3 hours).

Hope you and yours are having a great 4th of July!


Brenda said...

Julie, this is so cute, you did an awesome job! I would so love a piece of that too. I love cheesecake with a dough crust instead of the usual graham cracker. Yum!

Joanne said...

Julie, this is AMAZING! I am in awe!

The Blonde Duck said...

Minature donkeys! I'd be bummed too!

The Japanese Redneck said...

That looks delicious.

They don't do anything in our hometown.

The Tomato Festival was last weekend and they had the big hoop-la then.

Kathleen said...

This is totally adorable!

The Blonde Duck said...

I hope you had a great 4th!

Julie said...

Beautiful cake!! Perfect for a holiday!

Kerstin said...

Aww, so pretty, hope you had a fabulous 4th! said...

Absolutely Gorgeous. I love this!

girlichef said...

Cute! And ya know, nothing ever seems as magical or fun to me now as it did when I was a kid. Go figure...

Monet said...

This looks so cute, and I'm sure it tastes even better. We love cheesecake around here, so I'm sure this would be a hit! Thank you for sharing your creative self with me today. I hope you are having a happy weekend. Mine just got a bit brighter. Hugs and love from Austin!

Desi said...

Oh how fun! I love finding 4th of July recipes... I hadn't seen this one. I'll have to bookmark this one for next year! I wanted to let you know about my cookbook giveaway that is going on right now until July 16th. Stop on by to enter! Hope you are having a great week :)

Chris said...

Monkeys on donkeys? That would scare the bejezzus outta me, like the flying monkeys from Wizard of Oz.

theUngourmet said...

This is very cute! We recently moved to a small town and they really "go to town" for the 4th. tee hee. It's fun to see. :)

Val said...