Tuesday, July 8, 2008

You're a Grand Old Flag

This past weekend Forrest and I drove home to New Orleans to celebrate the Fourth of July with our families. Even though gas prices are a killer, it was still much cheaper for us to drive than to fly home. Airline tickets are considerably more outrageous and we decided driving was the most economical decision. We had a fun packed weekend that consisted of skeet shooting, wake boarding, jet-skiing and dining on traditional New Orleans cuisine such as boiled crabs, oyster po'boys, and catfish. By far, the highlight of the trip was the party my parents had on the Fourth of July. Forrest's family, my family and all of our friends gathered at my parent's Lake House for a grand celebration. I made a Martha Stewart Flag Cheesecake recipe that was a big hit and we spent a lot of the day (when we weren't in the water) at my Dad's newly constructed Tiki Bar he built over his new Boat Hoist. My mom personalized the bar before we arrived by decorating the stools with the college emblem from each one of the schools my brothers and sister and I graduated from. Conveniently we all went to different colleges so there was one for each of the four stools. I don't have any pics of me making the cheesecake because I had trouble baking in my mom's kitchen and forgot to photograph the process due to the chaos. Since I don't have pics of the baking steps, I included one of my Daddy at his new bar with the painted College barstools.

Fruited Cheesecake Flag
Martha Stewart Living July 2007


Makes 48 squares

  • Vegetable-oil cooking spray
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • Coarse salt
  • 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 (I omitted and only used blueberries)
  • 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 ( I omitted and only used strawberries)
  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Coat a 13-by-18-inch rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray. Line with parchment, leaving a 2-inch overhang on the long sides. Coat parchment with spray.
  2. 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.
  3. Transfer dough to sheet. Use a large piece of plastic wrap to press dough into an even layer that covers the bottom of the sheet. Cover and refrigerate until firm, about 20 minutes.
  4. Bake dough until entire surface is golden brown, about 40 minutes. Let cool completely in sheet on a wire rack. Raise oven temperature to 350.
  5. In a clean bowl, beat cream cheese with a mixer 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.
  6. Bake until filling is set, about 25 minutes. Let cool completely in sheet on rack. Refrigerate until firm and cold, about 4 hours (or overnight).
  7. Run a sharp knife along short sides of sheet, and use parchment to lift out cheesecake. Run knife under hot water and dry well. Use it to cut cheesecake into 48 squares, wiping knife clean between cuts.
  8. Transfer squares to a serving platter, reforming the rectangle. Decorate top left squares (3 down and 4 across), placing a blueberry in the center of each square and mounding blueberries around it. Using a long offset spatula, slide out 4 squares from bottom row. Top each square with 3 strawberry slices, dust with confectioners' sugar, and return to rectangle. Repeat with remaining 4 squares on bottom row and then squares on alternating rows. Alternatively, omit strawberries and dust alternating rows generously with confectioners' sugar. Serve immediately (or refrigerate overnight).


Joelen said...

Looks great and sounds like a fun holiday weekend with family!

Gabriela Divine said...

Wow! Now that's a Tiki Bar even Caroline's husband Ted would envy!

Bobba Lynn said...

Who is the good looking bar tender? Reminds me of a handsome boy I knew in second grade.

Woody said...

i put on about 8 lbs from that cheese cake. i was sad to leave the leftovers behind in Slidell when we had to come back to DC

allison said...

I wonder what my life would be like if my mother-in-law were Bobba Lynn??

mom said...

your life couldn't be better than it is with me. And if you ever want to try Bobba Lynn as a mother-in-law, just let me know. I do own some cute little bobby socks that I could wear for you.