Raspberry Cheesecake Brownies

March 3rd, 2013

What could be better than rich chocolate brownies with a sweet and tart cheesecake topping?  That would be the same with a hit of fresh raspberries.  I have been cleaning and organizing the Florida house in preparation for our return to Lake Lure.  In the little used cabinet over the refrigerator I rediscovered my notebook of recipes from a whole live time ago.  Yellowed pages, stained and annotated by a younger me, brought back memories of the young wife and mother I used to be.  Dishes that I have not prepared in years reminded me of specific dinners with friends and family.

This brownie recipe is one of them .  It is an old recipe from Gourmet Magazine.  They are relatively easy to make; only requiring a few steps to make the layers.  My husband has always claimed the brownie prowess in our family.  He won a blue ribbon from 4-H for his recipe as a child.  But he is considering  yielding his status as “Brownie Expert” after tasting this rendition.  To me, the cream cheese layer lightens the richness of the chocolate brownie.  In addition, raspberries go so well with chocolate.

I feel like I have found a treasure trove of memories through recipes.  Another recipe I will share soon is my Texas Pecan Torte.  It was a dinner party favorite for many years.  I just hope our diets can survive this onslaught.


For Brownie Batter:
4 ounces fine-quality bittersweet chocolate, chopped
2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter
1 1/4 cup sugar
3 large eggs
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup all-purpose flour

For Cheesecake Topping:
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
2/3 cup sugar
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1 1/2 cups raspberries
1 tablespoon sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. and butter and flour a 13-by 9-inch baking pan.

Make Brownie Batter:
In a metal bowl set over a pan of barely simmering water melt chocolates with butter, stirring, and cool.  Whisk in sugar and eggs, 1 at a time, and whisk in vanilla and salt.  Whisk in flour until just combined and spread batter evenly in prepared pan.

Make Cheesecake topping:
In a bowl with an electric mixer cream together cream cheese and sugar until light and fluffy and beat in lemon juice, egg, vanilla, and salt.  Beat in flour and spread mixture in an even layer over batter.
Scatter raspberries over topping and sprinkle with sugar.

Bake brownies in middle of oven 35 to 40 minutes, or until top is puffed and pale golden and a tester comes out with crumbs adhering to it.  Cool brownies completely in pan on a rack and chill, covered, at least 6 hours or overnight.

Cut brownies into bars and sprinkle with confections’ sugar if desired.  Serve brownies cold or at room temperature.  Makes about 24 brownies.

Printable recipe





Raspberry Tart

February 28th, 2013

I decided to make a dessert with what I had on hand.  I don’t often use canned pie filling, but at Christmas time I bought a can of raspberry pie filling to make a breakfast pastry.  I never got around to using that recipe; can’t even find it now.   The can of raspberry pie filling has been sitting in my pantry for a while now.  One of my favorite desserts is Ina Garten’s Apple Crostata.  Why couldn’t I substitute raspberry pie filling for the apples?     It sounded like a winner to me.

Just don’t expect it to look like this apple crostata above.  You see, I neglected to take into consideration that the apples were raw and not juicy when added to the pastry circle.  They released their juices while baking but never became runny.  The canned raspberry was juicy from the beginning.  It resulted in leakage and expansion.

Thank goodness I baked the tart on parchment paper.  It was easy to clean up the errant juices.  As a matter of fact, this tasted really good.  So here is my mistake in all of its messy glory.  I’ve had two pieces so far.  Next time I think I will bake it in a pie pan.  The canned raspberry pie filling has potential.



For the Pastry:
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/8 cup sugar
1/4 tsp salt
4 Tbls. cold butter
4 Tbls. vegetable shortening
2 Tbls. ice water

For the Filling and Topping:

1 18 ounce can of raspberry pie filling

1/4 cup flour
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cinnamon
4 Tbls cold butter, diced
1/4 cup sliced or slivered almonds

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.

For the pastry, place the flour, sugar, and salt in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade.  Pulse a few times to combine.  Add the butter and toss quickly with your fingers to coat each cube of butter with the flour.  Pulse 12 to 15 times, or until the butter is the size of peas.  With the motor running, add the 2 Tablespoons of ice water all at once through the feed tube.  Keep hitting the pulse button to combine, but stop the machine just before the dough comes together.  Turn the dough out onto a well-floured board and form into a disk.  Wrap with plastic and refrigerate for at least an hour.

Roll the pastry into an 11-inch circle on a lightly floured surface.  Transfer it to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.  Alternately, place in a 9″ pie pan, trim and flute the edges.  If cooking on the parchment paper, add the pie filling to the center of the pastry circle leaving a 1 1/2 ” border.  Fold the edges up over the pie filling, pleating as you go.

Combine the flour, sugar, salt, and cinnamon in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade.  Add the butter and pulse until the mixture is crumbly.  Pour into a bowl, add the almonds and rub it with your fingers until it starts holding together.  Sprinkle evenly on the pie filling whether on parchment paper or in the pie shell.

Bake the tart in the hot oven for 20 to 25 minutes.  Remove and cool before serving.

Printable recipe


Raspberry Financiers

January 24th, 2013

While we were in Paris last summer I bought a silicone financier pan from Dehillerin, the iconic kitchen supply store.  I have regretted not buying the individual financier tin molds ever since.  Financiers are small cakes made in Paris bakeries in the shape of gold bars.  They were originally sold in the financial district to busy businessmen who wanted a quick snack on the go, since when you have an LLC is important to learn how to manage your time and employees. 

I have a friend here in Florida whose mother was an expert chocolate maker.  Stephanie inherited all of her mother’s chocolate molds.   I was describing the rectangular financier molds to her and she said that she would look through her collection to see if she had any.  To my surprise and delight I received this gift from Stephanie.

The fluted molds are so beautiful.  I feel honored that she wanted to share them with me.  Stephanie’s  mother was not only an exceptional baker, she was also a hat model in New York City.  Looking at Stephanie,with her beautiful sculpted cheek bones and wide smile, I can understand why her mother’s visage would be perfect for modeling hats.  Does anyone model hats anymore?  I doubt it.

Traditionally financiers are made with browned butter, almond meal and confectioner’s sugar.  That combination makes a delicious cake.  I have become addicted to them.  You can make your own almond meal by grinding almonds into a fine mix or you can buy almond meal at most health food or specialty grocery stores.  You can make them plain or add fruit such as raspberries or blueberries to the top.  I have even made a savory financier using sage leaves and walnuts.  See that recipe here.  This recipe came from Joy of Baking and there is a great video included with the recipe.


1/2 cup unsalted butter
1/4 cup all purpose-flour
1/2 cup ground almonds (can use almond meal/flour)
3/4 cup confectioners (powdered or icing) sugar, sifted
1/8 teaspoon salt
3 large egg whites, lightly beaten
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Fresh berries (optional)

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C) with the oven rack in the center of the oven. Place 12 rectangular or boat shaped tartlet molds (each holds about 2 tablespoons of batter) on a baking sheet. (Can also use mini muffin cups.)

Place the butter in a small light colored saucepan over medium heat. Once the butter has melted let it come to a boil, swirling the pan occasionally. As it boils you will notice that a foam will appear on the butter’s surface. Continue to cook the butter until it looks clear and the milk solids have dropped to the bottom of the pan and have turned golden brown. Remove from heat and immediately pour through a cheesecloth-lined strainer. Let cool to room temperature. You will need 1/3 cup (80 ml) of brown butter. Use the leftover brown butter to butter the molds (use a pastry brush).

In a large bowl whisk together the flour, ground almonds, confectioners sugar, and salt. Make a well in the center and fold in the lightly beaten egg whites, vanilla, and the brown butter. Fill each mold almost to the rim and bake for about 4 minutes (batter is set around the edges but still soft in the center). Remove from the oven and gently place one or two fresh raspberries on top of each. Bake a further 5-7 minutes or until the Financiers have become golden brown around the edges and are springy to the touch. Remove from oven and let cool on a wire rack. These are best eaten warm from the oven, but they can be covered and stored for a few days at room temperature or in the refrigerator.

Makes about 12 Financiers.

Printable recipe

© Penny Klett, Lake Lure Cottage Kitchen. All rights reserved.