November 7, 2010

Citrus & Vanilla Bean Cheesecake Squares

This is one of those recipes that works perfectly for entertaining.
Citrus & Vanilla Bean Cheesecake Squares
from: Cookie Mondays

*12 graham crackers (each 2 1/2 by 5 inches)
*3 tablespoons sugar
*5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
*2 bars (8 ounces each) cream cheese, room temperature
*3/4 cup sugar
*2 large eggs
*finely grated zest and juice of 1 medium citrus fruit (1 to 2 teaspoons zest and about 3 tablespoons juice) {this time I used blood orange}
*1 teaspoon vanilla extract
*1/2 vanilla bean, scraped


Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
1. Make the crust: Line bottom and sides of an 8-inch square baking pan with aluminum foil, leaving an overhang on all sides. In a food processor, blend graham crackers with sugar until finely ground; add butter and pulse until moistened.
2. Transfer crumb mixture to prepared pan, and pat in gently (wipe processor bowl clean, and reserve for making filling). Bake until beginning to brown, 10 to 12 minutes. While crust is baking, make filling.
3. Place cream cheese in food processor; blend until smooth. Scrape down the bowl well, and add sugar, eggs, zest & juice, and vanilla extract & bean; blend until smooth.
4. Pour mixture onto hot crust in pan; smooth top. Return to oven, and bake until set (filling should jiggle only slightly when pan is gently shaken), 30 to 35 minutes.
5. Cool completely in pan. 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 pan. Cut into squares; garnish with citrus slices if desired.