Lemon Bars with an extra crunch

As promised;

For the Crust, you will need                 

8-9 graham crackers (each 2 1/2 by 5 inches)                  

1 cup of nuts. I used raw pistachios, which I toasted off first. But Almonds and Pecans also work.

Sugar  

    2 tablespoons regular fine white sugar

    5 tablespoon Turbinado              

3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Pinch of salt                  

For the Filling                 

1 8-ounce package of cream cheese, room temperature                  

1  8-ounce container of marscapone cheese (or substitute another 8-ounce package of cream cheese)

3/4 cup sugar fine white sugar                  

2 large eggs                  

Pinch of salt

Finely grated zest and juice of 1 lemon (2 to 3 teaspoons zest and about 3 tablespoons juice). If using Meyer you may need to check for tartness.  This also works for Orange and limes

DIRECTIONS  

Make the crust: Preheat oven to 325  degrees. 

This is the Lemon version with the extra sugar layer crust

This is an orange version with the single step method crust

Note – this crust is made in two parts!

  • Line the bottom and sides of an 8-inch square baking pan with aluminum foil, leaving an overhang on all sides. You can fold the extra foil over the edges.
    • I don’t recommend using a foil pan for this. They are too thin and bend when moving. You want the solid stability of the hard pan. 
  • In a food processor, blend 5 graham crackers, 1/2 cup of nuts with 2 tablespoons of fine sugar until finely ground; add 2 tablespoons of the butter and pulse until it looks like damp sand.
  • Transfer the first level of crumb mixture to prepared pan, and pat in gently. Bake 6-7 min

Second layer

  • In the same food processor, blend remaining 3 graham crackers with the remaining 1/2 cup of nuts and 4 tablespoons of turbinado sugar until finely ground; add the remaining 1 tablespoon of the butter and pulse until moistened.
  • Add the layer to the prebaked layer.  Pat firm, sprinkle on the remaining 1 tablespoon of turbinado sugar.  Bake until beginning to brown, another 7- 10 minutes. 

While crust is baking, Make the filling:

  • Place the 16 ounces cream cheese in the (wipe processor bowl clean first) food processor; blend until smooth. Add sugar, eggs, lemon zest, and lemon juice; blend 
  • When ready, remove the crust from the oven and pour the mixture on the top layer over the hot crust in pan; smooth top.
  • Return to oven, and bake until set (filling should jiggle only slightly when the pan is gently shaken), 35-45 minutes.
  • Remove from the oven and cool completely in pan.
  • When cool, cover very loosely with plastic wrap; chill until firm, at least 2 hours (and up to 2 days).
  • Use foil overhang to lift cheesecake out of the pan. With metal spatula, lift cheesecake from foil; cut into squares.
  • You can sprinkle confectionary sugar or top with candied lemon peels etc.

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