4th Of July Recap
How was your 4th of July this year? Did you do anything special? Make anything special?
I really wanted to go to the Cape. My family goes every summer, and my mom usually tries to book something at the beginning of July, so it's a tradition for me. Unfortunately, I had to work on Saturday and Monday, so there wasn't really enough time to get down there... and a good amount of my free time probably would have been spent sitting in traffic had we gone.
The good thing is that I was really excited about working because I'm at the new Flour location right now. A new bakery is a pretty fun place to be, so that helped balance my disappointment about not making it to the Cape. And I'm keeping my fingers crossed I'll be able to get down there in October!
So yesterday, we headed to Jeff's parents' house for a BBQ, and I made a fruited-cheesecake flag. The recipe is from Martha Stewart, which you may have already guessed. Perfect rows, categorized berries... it really just screams "Martha," or at least it does to me.
Fruited-Cheesecake Flag (adapted from Martha Stewart Living, July 2008)
3 cups all-purpose flour
12 ounces (3 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons light-brown sugar
32 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon pure almond extract
4 large eggs, room temperature
6 ounces (1 1/2 cups) blackberries
8 3/4 ounces (2 cups) blueberries
1 pound strawberries, hulled and sliced lengthwise into thirds
Confectioners' sugar, for dusting
12 ounces (3 cups) raspberries
Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Coat a 13-by-18-inch rimmed sheet pan with nonstick spray. (I used a 12-by-17-inch sheet pan.) Line with parchment, leaving a 2-inch overhang on the long sides. Coat parchment with spray.
Sift flour and 1 3/4 teaspoons salt into a bowl. Cream butter with a mixer on medium-high speed, occasionally scraping bowl, until fluffy, 3 to 5 minutes. With the mixer running, slowly add light brown sugar, beating until very pale and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add flour mixture all at once, and beat on low speed until just incorporated.
Transfer dough to sheet pan, and press dough evenly into pan. Cover and refrigerate until firm, about 20 minutes.
Bake dough until entire surface is golden brown, 30 to 40 minutes. Let cool completely in sheet pan on a wire rack. Raise oven temperature to 350 degrees.
In bowl of electric mixer, beat cream cheese on medium speed, occasionally scraping bowl, until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Reduce speed to low, and add granulated sugar in a slow, steady stream. Scrape bowl, then mix in lemon zest, vanilla and almond extracts, and a pinch of salt until well combined. Scrape bowl, then beat in eggs, 1 at a time, until incorporated. The mixture should be very smooth; scrape bowl as necessary. Pour over crust, and spread into an even layer.
Bake until filling is set, 20 to 25 minutes. Let cool completely in sheet pan on rack. Refrigerate until firm and cold, about 4 hours (or overnight).
Use parchment to lift out cheesecake. Fill a tall container with hot water, and dip knife in it. Dry well, and use knife to trim sides of cake and cut cheesecake into 48 squares, redipping and wiping knife clean between cuts. (Or have boyfriend/significant other carry out above step while you wash and prep berries.)
Place a clean sheet of parchment in the bottom of the sheet pan, or use a large serving dish. (I don't own a 12-by-17-inch serving dish, so I had to make do with the pan.
Transfer the squares to the pan. (I followed Martha's directions and decorated my strawberry rows before sliding them into the pan, but the confectioners' sugar doesn't hold up well. I had to keep re-sugaring the strawberries, so I think it would make more sense to get one of those little sifter spoons and carefully sift the sugar over the strawberries just before serving.)
Decorate top left squares (3 down and 4 across), placing a blackberry in the center of each square and circling it with blueberries. Place 4 or 5 raspberries on each square in every other row, beginning with top row.
Cover the rest of the squares with 3 strawberry slices each. Just before serving, carefully dust strawberries with confectioners' sugar. Serve immediately. The cake can be refrigerated overnight, but again, I recommend doing this before dusting the strawberries with confectioners' sugar.
What was your favorite thing you ate this weekend? If I'm not counting the cheesecake, I really enjoyed a chicken salad with cabbage and crunchy noodles at the BBQ -- not to mention ribs!