Hooray! It’s Easter time! That means spring is just around the corner and we can look forward to shedding our winter coats for good. In light of this celebration, I came up with a bright, flavorful dessert made with fresh raspberries and a buttery whole wheat crust that’s perfect to share with family and friends on Easter. Let’s hear it for spring!
We’ll be working on the crust first, so grab a bag of Hodgson Mill Whole Wheat Flour and Hodgson Mill Naturally White Flour. Or pull out a bag of Hodgson Mill 50/50 Whole Wheat and White Flour and skip the extra measuring. Set the flour aside – we’ll be using it momentarily.
The first thing you need to do is cream the butter for about 30 seconds on high speed. Be sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl during this process so that the butter is evenly creamed.
Next, add the flour, brown sugar and salt to the bowl and mix until just combined. This is another one of those great moments when you’ll know that you’ve included whole grains in a fabulous dessert, but no one else will. I love it when that happens.
Press the dough into a foil-lined, 13×9 inch baking pan. The dough is pretty sticky, so to avoid a mess on your hands, I recommend wetting your finger tips before you press the dough into the pan.
Bake the dough in a 350˚F oven for 18-20 minutes or until the crust is set and light brown- like this. Cool on a wire rack for 5 minutes. Leave the oven on – we’ll be using it again shortly.
Meanwhile, begin preparing the topping. If you don’t have seedless raspberry preserves, no worries; just warm up about a cup of the seeded preserves in the microwave until it’s somewhat soupy. Then pour it into a mesh strainer that’s on top of a bowl and push the preserves through the strainer until all you have left are the seeds. The preserves should come out the other end of the strainer and be just about perfectly seedless and ready to spread on the crust. You can re-measure the seedless preserves to see if you have the right amount, but a little more or less won’t make a big difference.
Spread the preserves on the slightly cooled crust as seen in this photo.
Then scatter the fresh raspberries all over the top of the preserves. Set aside while we make the creamy filling.
In a medium-sized bowl, beat together the goat cheese and cream cheese until well blended; about 2 minutes. If you’re not a goat cheese fan, you can substitute more cream cheese instead. I like how the goat cheese gives these bars a little more personality, but either way they’ll be delicious.
Mix in the flour and sugar until creamy and smooth.
Add the egg, egg yolk, lemon zest, lemon juice and vanilla extract. Beat until everything is combined and silky smooth.
Pour the creamy mixture over the top of the raspberries and bake in a 350˚F oven for 20-25 minutes or until the filling is set.
Cool the baked bars on a wire rack and then cover and refrigerate them for at least 2 hours before serving. I love how the filling turns a lovely lemon yellow after it’s baked and how the raspberries look like cheerful red polka dots peeking out all over the top.
When you’re ready to serve the bars, take the pan out of the refrigerator and gently lift the edges of the foil lining to transfer the uncut bars from the pan onto a cutting board. Carefully peel back the foil from the edges of the bars. Run a sharp knife under hot water and cut the bars into the desired size and number of bars. Clean off the knife and run it under hot water for each cut. Store the cut bars in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to four days. I was able to get 15 bars from my pan and they didn’t last more than two days before they were gone.
These Raspberry Cream Bars, with their bright lemon and raspberry flavors, are a lovely way to celebrate Easter and spread some spring cheer. The buttery, whole grain crust is the perfect base for the creamy filling and the addition of goat cheese will keep people guessing as to what gives these bars such a unique flavor. You can also feel good about including Hodgson Mill Whole Wheat Flour in yet another delicious dessert. I daresay no one will be disappointed. Happy Easter! Enjoy!
Raspberry Cream Bars
- 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
- 1 cup Hodgson Mill Whole Wheat Flour
- 1 cup Hodgson Mill Naturally White Flour
- ¼ cup brown sugar, packed
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¾ cup seedless raspberry preserves (or regular preserves with seeds removed – see procedure above)
- 2 cups fresh raspberries
- 4 ounces cream cheese, softened
- 4 ounces soft goat cheese (chèvre) or cream cheese, softened
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- 1 Tablespoon Hodgson Mill Naturally White Flour
- 1 large egg
- 1 large egg yolk
- 2 Tablespoons finely shredded lemon peel
- 2 Tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Line a 13×9 in baking pan with foil and set aside. In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter on high speed for 30 seconds, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Add the flour, brown sugar and salt and continue mixing until just combined. Press the mixture evenly into the foil-lined pan, using moistened finger tips to keep the dough from sticking. Bake the crust for 18-20 minutes in a 350˚F oven or until set and lightly brown. Cool on a wire rack for 5 minutes.
Carefully spread the raspberry preserves over the top of the slightly cooled crust and then sprinkle with the raspberries. Set aside.
For the filling, in a medium-sized bowl beat the cream cheese and goat cheese together until smooth and creamy – about 2 minutes. Beat in the sugar and flour until well combined. Next, mix in the egg, egg yolk, lemon peel, lemon juice and vanilla until smooth. Pour the cream cheese mixture over the raspberries. Bake for 20-25 minutes in a 350˚F oven until the filling is set. Cool the pan on a wire rack and then cover and chill in the refrigerator for at least two hours before serving. When ready to serve, use the edges of the foil to lift the uncut bars out of the pan onto a cutting board. Carefully peel the foil away from the sides of the bars. Run a sharp knife under hot water and cut the bars into the desired size and number of bars. Clean off the knife and run it under hot water for each cut. Store the cut bars in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to four days. Makes approximately 15 bars.
Adapted from Better Homes and Gardens