May 2009

Lemon Bars that Deserve a Fork

When I think of lemon bars, I think of the lemon bars served at the Sunday brunch at Duke's Malibu restaurant in Malibu, Ca. They had a buttery pastry base, with a slightly sweet but predominantly lemony tart lemon custard/lemon curd topping, with a light dusting of powdered sugar. These lemon bars are incredible, really truly incredible, and while you could eat them, with some care, with your fingers, brownie-style, I usually used a fork. The restaurant doesn't make them on site; they're provided by a local baker, so I have no idea of the recipe used. But dear sweet heaven—I love those lemon bars, and, no, I've never been able to completely duplicate them, despite diligent research, experimentation and multiple self-sacrifices in the form of many many trips to Duke's desert buffet.

A Novice's Guide to Cheesecake

If you make your own cheesecake, you have two choices: bake, or no-bake. 

No-bake cheesecakes are more foolproof, because without the baking stage, you won't have to worry about the dreaded cracking.  However, although some people prefer the more creamy texture, it isn't "real" cheesecake.    Most no-bake cheesecakes are made with cream cheese, a sweetener, heavy or whipping cream, and lemon juice.  Some recipes use a can of sweetened condensed milk for both the sweetener and the cream.

Both  no-bake cheesecakes and baked cheesecakes require an equally long run time.  No-bake cheesecakes need to set up in the refrigerator for 5-6 hours.  Baked cheesecakes should be left in the oven to slowly cool for several hours.  There is no quick route to delicious cheesecake!