Thursday, September 11, 2014

Goodbye, summer.

For Thursday: use three of the following: apples, cranberries, eggplant,cream cheese.

I've been dying to make a dessert, so I obviously went with the apples, cranberries, and cream cheese. Sorry, eggplant. Another day, maybe.

I wanted to do something cheesecake-y for sure, but an apple cranberry cheesecake sounded odd. I associate apples and cranberries with crisps and crumbles; hearty and fragrant treats that go great with the chilly weather we welcomed to Minnesota this week. So, I combined the two for something that turned out a lot more elegant than I'd envisioned. Despite all the sugar, it's not too sweet.

Cranberry Apple Cheesecake Bars
makes 12 servings

Fruit layer:
2 apples (I used Fujis), peeled, cored, and diced
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp dried ginger
1 tsp lemon juice
2 tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp cornstarch
1/4 water

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp lemon zest
1/2 tsp baking powder
pinch salt
1 stick (1/2 cup) vegan margarine (cold)
1 Ener-G or flax egg
1/4 cup chopped pecans

Cheese layer:
8 oz tub vegan cream cheese at room temperature
3 tbsp vegan sour cream or soy yogurt
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp cornstarch
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp almond or vanilla extract

Heat oven to 350°, spray an 8x8 brownie pan with cooking spray.

In a saucepan, combine the ingredients for the fruit layer. Cook and stir over medium heat for about three minutes, just until it starts to bubble. Set aside. 

In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, lemon zest, baking powder, salt, and egg replacer. Cut in the margarine until it resembles pea-sized crumbs. Scoop out about 3/4 cup of the flour mixture, fold in the chopped pecans, and set aside. Press the rest of it lightly into prepared baking pan. 

On low speed, mix the cheese layer ingredients until smooth. Spread over the crust. Top with the fruit mixture, and spread evenly. Loosely scatter the rest of the crust mixture with the pecans over the top. 

Bake for 45-50 minutes. The crust should be light golden brown. Cool completely before cutting and serving.