As the brilliant blue-skies of summer become the golden days of fall, the seasonal march of fruit continues: rhubarb and strawberries become luscious red raspberries, tiny wild Maine blueberries, green and bright purple plums, fuzzy orange peaches, blue- green pears and early pink striped apples. So much fruit with so little time!
We enjoy eating our seasonal, perfectly ripe fruit fresh out of hand for snacks. Cut up pieces of fruit make elegant additions to a salad, think peaches with cucumbers or blueberries with chopped fennel. And when seasonal fruit is past its prime, it becomes a nutritional powerhouse when combined with yogurt and kale in a smoothie.
Of all the ways we Americans enjoy our fruit, dessert is probably the most popular way. Who doesn’t love a fragrant, fresh peach pie, pear-chocolate tart, or spicy apple cake? In a well-crafted dessert, the natural flavor and essence of a perfectly ripe fruit will sing, and your palate will crave even more.
For example, take the combination of sugar and fat. The sweetness of fruit, when combined with fat (like butter), becomes addictive, as in Blueberry – Peach Cheesecake Bars. This recipe, adapted from a 1988 Gourmet magazine, used to involve several steps and mixing bowls. I tweaked it by mixing everything in a food processor, and substituting local goat cheese for additive-laced cream cheese.
These bars taste just like Maine summer: not too sweet, rich and buttery, lush and creamy, with hints of peaches, and the essence of blueberries.
Blueberry – Peach Cheesecake Bars
- ½ cup all purpose flour
- ½ cup cane sugar
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ cup cold unsalted butter one half stick
- 1 egg
- 8 ounces goat cheese or cream cheese at room temperature
- 2 tablespoons cane sugar
- 1- teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 egg
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- ½ cup fresh wild Maine blueberries
- 2 peaches pitted, peeled, and cut into thin slices
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease an 8 by 8 inch brownie pan, or a 7 x 9 inch pan.
- In the bowl of your food processor, pulse the all purpose flour, sugar and baking powder until blended. Add the butter, cut into pieces, and pulse briefly until the mixture resembles a coarse meal. Add the egg and blend well. Pat into the greased pan.
- Without washing the food processor, add the cheese and sugar and pulse to blend. Add the vanilla extract, egg and lemon juice and blend well. Pour the mixture over the top of the crust.
- Sprinkle the blueberries on the top, then layer the peaches. Sprinkle with the remaining 1-tablespoon of sugar. Bake until the cheese layer is just set, about 30 minutes.
- Let cool on a rack and then refrigerate. Cut into pieces.