Monday, July 26, 2010

Triple Citrus Cheesecake Bars

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Citrus flavors are all the rage during the summer months for it's refreshing flavor. With the raves I received on the recent Key Lime Cheesecake Bars I made recently, I decided to make them again with a slight twist. I used a combination of lemon, lime and orange to make these Triple Citrus Cheesecake Bars. It's one of the best ways to highlight summer's citrus fruits!

These were fantastic and so flavorful! I prepared the same recipe for Key Lime Cheesecake Bars where I made the substitution of changing out the lime juice and zest for a combination of lemon, lime and orange juices and zest. It certainly had more zest than the key lime version but it worked well, if not better. The flavors were much more pronounced, which is exactly what I was looking for. Another change I made to the original recipe was using crushed animal crackers in place of the graham cracker crumbs. I took the tip of using animal crackers from Cooks Illustrated's recipe for Key Lime Bars. It makes for a great crust that's sturdy and handles the bright notes of the three types of citrus zest.

* Note: For the citrus juice called for in this recipe, squeeze the juices of 1 lime, 1 lemon and 1 small orange all into one small bowl. Whisk the juices together to combine. Measure out 3 tablespoons of this juice for this recipe.

Triple Citrus Cheesecake Bars
recipe adapted Taste & See

Crust:
2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1 stick butter, melted
2 Tablespoons sugar
zest of 1 lime
zest of 1 lemon
zest of 1 small orange

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Cheesecake:
3 sticks of cream cheese, 8 oz each, room temperature
zest of 1 lime
zest of 1 lemon
zest of 1 small orange 1 cup sugar
3 large eggs
1 cup heavy cream
3 Tablespoons citrus juice *see note above


Preheat oven to 350. Begin to boil a large pot of water for the water bath.

Mix together the crust ingredients and press into your preferred pan. You can press the crust just into the bottom, or up the sides of the pan too - baker's choice. Set crust aside.

Combine sugar and lime zest and mix with the cream cheese in the bowl of a stand-mixer (or in a large bowl if using a hand-mixer) and cream together until smooth. Add eggs, one at a time, fully incorporating each before adding the next. Make sure to scrape down the bowl in between each egg. Add heavy cream and citrus juices and blend until smooth and creamy.

Pour batter into prepared crust and tap the pan on the counter a few times to bring all air bubbles to the surface. Place pan into a larger pan and pour boiling water into the larger pan until halfway up the side of the cheesecake pan.

Bake 45 to 55 minutes, until it is almost done - this can be hard to judge, but you're looking for the cake to hold together, but still have a lot of jiggle to it in the center. You don't want it to be completely firm at this stage. Close the oven door, turn the heat off, and let rest in the cooling oven for one hour. This lets the cake finish cooking and cool down gently enough so that it won't crack on the top. After one hour, remove cheesecake from oven and lift carefully out of water bath. Let it finish cooling on the counter, and then cover and put in the fridge to chill. Once fully chilled, it is ready to serve.

To garnish, top with slices of fresh lime,lemon and/or orange. Whipped cream would be wonderful too!

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