Wednesday 29 August 2012

When brûlée goes bad: Lemon Coconut Cheesecake Bars

Amélie Poulain cultive un goût particulier pour les tous petits plaisirs. Elle aime plonger sa main au plus profond d’un sac de grain... briser la croûte des crèmes brûlées avec la pointe de la petite cuillère... et faire des ricochets sur le Canal Saint-Martin. ~ Le fabuleux destin d'Amélie Poulain.
Amelie cultivates a taste for small pleasures. She likes dipping her hand into sacks of grain, cracking crème brûlée with a teaspoon and skipping stones at St. Martin's Canal ~ Amelie

These were meant to be brûlée bars.  I wanted them so much to be brûlée bars.

Like Amélie (my fav movie of all time!) that first crack through the caramel sugar layer on a crème brûlée never fails to give me tingles down my spine.  It's magical.   Truly one of life's little pleasures.

But despite what people tell you, you just can't brûlée properly in the oven.   Instead of getting that perfectly golden brown, snap crackle caramel coating on the top, you end up with burned edges, melted sugar, and gooey melted cheesecake.  Boo.  One does not simply brûlée without a blow torch.

{is it kinda pyro asking for a blow torch for christmas?}

So I just topped the rest of the Lemon Cheesecake Slices I made for our Baking for Hospice Fifty Shades of Yellow round with crunchy toasted coconut making them Lemon Coconut Cheesecake Slices.  But don't get me wrong, the dud first brûlée attempts may not have looked that flash, they tasted amazing.  That caramel crunchy top was perfect with the creamy tangy cheesecake filling.  Mark my words, once I get my hands on a sweet blow torch, I'm definitely gonna go brûlée crazy with these puppies.  Watch this space. 

Whining about my lack of flame throwing equipment aside, the toasted coconut was a great substitute.  Toasting the threads of coconut makes them crunchy, nutty and a gorgeous golden colour and goes really well with the luscious lemony cheesecake.   You don't get that delicious cracking moment but you do get citrusy nutty velvety nominess.

These cheesecake slices are criminally easy both to make and to eat.  This is my baked good of the moment.  Straight to the fav things to bake list.  Tangy, creamy, sunshine in a slice: all the best things about sweet treats all rolled into one.   A perfect way to wow the crowd or just to satisfy those cheesecake cravings we all get.

Lemon Coconut Cheesecake Bars

makes 16 squares

130 g unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup caster sugar
1 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt

250g cream cheese, room temperature (not the spreadable, use full fat for the best flavour and texture)
1 x 14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk
1 large egg + 1 egg yolk
Zest of 2 lemons
6 Tablespoons lemon juice ~ 2 lemons

6 Tablespoons thread coconut

1. Preheat oven to 180oC degrees. Line a 21cm square baking dish with baking paper, enough to have a decent overhang to help lift the slice out. 

2. In large bowl, cream butter and sugar until pale and fluffy, around 2 minutes.  Add vanilla and beat till mixed.  Sift in flour and beat lightly until just combined.  Tip into your prepared baking dish and press down to get an even base.  Bake base for 10 minutes.  Take out of oven and allow to cool.

3. In separate bowl beat the cream cheese until fluffy. Beat in sweetened condensed milk until mixed thoroughly, making sure you scrape the sides down as you go.  Add egg, egg yolk, lemon zest and lemon juice.  Beat on high for 1 minute until the mixture thickens slightly.

4. Pour the cream cheese mixture evenly over the base and bake for 20-25 minutes until set and not wobbly.  Cool completely in the tin and refrigerate for at least 3 hours.  Cut into 16 slices after the 3 hours refrigerating. 

5.  Just before serving,  toast the thread coconut in the oven at 180oC for 1-2 minutes.  Sprinkle on top of the slices while the coconut is still hot.  Slices will keep in the fridge (without the coconut) for up to 3 days.  

NB: If you want to brûlée the slices, sprinkle caster sugar generously over each slice and use a blow torch to caramelize the sugar.  Don't try to grill in the oven - it just didn't work for me!


  1. These look like creamy coconutty perfection and I look forward to the post after you get your torch!

    1. Thanks Lora! Maybe if I've been a good girl this year santa might leave one under the tree?? Hint hint husband :)

  2. I actually found it easier to melt the sugar in the oven, because it turns out much more even than when I use a blowtorch. I always end up getting burnt patches with the torch! You're right that it's hard to keep the rest of the dessert cool. I guess you just have to make sure it very cold to begin with, put it on the highest rack, and leave the oven door wide open so the heat of the grill doesn't transfer to the rest of the dish as quickly.

    1. Thanks for the tips! Will def give it a another go!! :)

  3. Good save! This looks perfect! I have never made creme brulee but if I attempt it, I will get a blowtorch. At least this was a learning experience for all of us :)

  4. Another one to add to the 'Must Bake' list! Amazing save Nessie!

  5. Awwwww, I agree Nessie, good save :)

  6. If these are what you call a disaster, I can't wait for the real thing!

  7. This might have been your plan B, but it looks pretty amazing!

  8. This is too many good things together! YUM!

  9. i discovered your blog last week and am having fun scrolling and reading thru... everything looks delicious, and you've reminded me i need to make something 'lemony'. lookign forward to your next post!

  10. Oh my goodness these look delicious! Wouldn't have ever known they were failed brulee! I just got given a blow torch for my birthday, totally can't wait to use it, though I have absolutely no idea how to make brulee! Will have to give this recipe a go, it is making my mouth water!



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