Sunday, June 12, 2011


blueberry swirl bars (4)

Here is a perfect dessert for a summer barbecue or picnic.  The tangy flavors of citrus and blueberry combine perfectly in a creamy cheesecake that sits atop a buttery, tender whole-wheat shortbread crust.
Southern Living Magazine’s recipe for Strawberry-Lemon Shortbread Bars was the inspiration for my adaptation.  SL used strawberry preserves on top of the crust and topped the preserves with cheesecake filling.  It sounded too sweet for me.  Most commercial jams taste more like corn syrup than fruit, IMHO.

blueberry swirl bars (2)

My blueberry puree has less than a tablespoon of sugar per cup of blueberries.  Because the blueberries are cooked down, the blueberry flavor and sweetness are intensified, requiring less sugar.  You’ll really taste the blueberries in this dessert, and you won't feel deprived of sugar.

blueberry swirl bars

Blueberry Swirl-Lemon Shortbread Bars
Adapted from Southern Living Magazine, April 2011
Rating:  9.5 out of 10

Blueberry Puree: 
5 cups fresh or frozen blueberries
1/4 cup sugar

In 3-quart saucepan, combine blueberries and sugar over medium-high heat.  Bring mixture to a boil and cook down to about 1-1/4 cups, or till mixture is jam-like in consistency, about 20-25 minutes.  Stir as needed to prevent scorching.  Puree with immersion blender, or transfer mixture to food processor or blender to puree.  Cool.

2 cups whole wheat pastry flour (or all purpose, if preferred)
1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar
1/2 tsp. finely grated lemon zest
3/4 cup (1-1/2 sticks) cold unsalted butter

Heat oven to 350F.  Combine ingredients in work bowl of food processor.  Pulse till crumbly.   Press onto bottom of lightly greased 13 x 9 pan.  Bake 20-22 minutes, or till lightly browned.

Cheesecake Filling: 
16 oz. cream cheese or Neufchatel cheese, softened
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 tsp. finely grated lemon zest
2 large eggs
1 Tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice

In work bowl of food processor, combine cheese, sugar and lemon zest.  Pulse till smooth.  Add eggs, one at a time, pulsing each till just incorporated.  Add juice with last egg.  Scrape bottom and sides of bowl to be sure everything is mixed well.  Pour over hot crust.  Drop puree by large tablespoonfuls over filling, then swirl with knife to create a marbled effect.

blueberry swirl bars (3)

(You may have about 1 cup of puree left over, and it is absolutely delicious with toast, oatmeal or heck, just straight out of the jar. )  Bake 28-32 more minutes or till set.  Cool one hour on wire rack.  Cover and chill 4-8 hours or overnight.  Cut into squares to serve.  Yield will depend on size of squares.

blueberry swirl bars (7)


Rebecca from Chow and Chatter said...

looks so pretty sorry its been a while always love your baking

Peggy Clyde said...

This looks beautiful. Thanks.

Angie said...

Absolutely gorgeous!!

lisa is cooking said...

Your version sounds great! I love really tasting the fruit and not just sugar. And, with the cheesecake, it looks delicious.

The Better Baker said...

YUM-OOOO! I love blueberries, cream cheese AND lemon - this would be a real kicker for me. Thanks for posting!

Food, Fun and Life in the Charente said...

Mouth watering can I come and taste one please? Diane

Anonymous said...

Wow, those look fantastic!