Fruited-Cheesecake Flag

3 cups all-purpose flour
Coarse salt
12oz (3 sticks) unsalted butter - room temperature
1 cup + 2 tbsp light brown sugar
32oz cream cheese - room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 tsp finely grated lemon zest
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp almond extract
4 large eggs - room temperature
6oz (1 1/2 cups) blackberries
9oz (2 cups) blueberries
12oz (3 cups) raspberries

Preheat the oven to 300*F. Use the 4th stick of butter that comes in the box to coat a 13-by-18-inch pan. Line the pan with parchment and leave a few inches of overhang on both short ends. Then coat the parchment with butter.

Cream the butter in a mixer on medium-high speed for 5 min. While the butter is busy, sift the flour and 1 3/4 tsp salt in a bowl. Next, lower the mixer to a medium setting add the light brown sugar to the butter in a slow, steady stream, and allow it to blend together for 2 min. Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides. Turn back on to a low setting and add the flour mixture, beating until just incorporated.

Transfer the dough to the center of the baking sheet. Using a piece of parchment the size of both hands, use your palms to spread the dough evenly around the pan. Be careful not to pull at the dough, as this will cause it to tear. Refrigerate for 20 min. Once chilled, bake the dough for 40 min. (With this downtime, wash the mixing bowl and beater for the filling.) Then remove from the oven and set the crust aside to cool completely. Raise the oven temperature to 350*F.

Beat the cream cheese in a mixer on medium speed for 3 min. Reduce the speed to low and add the sugar in a slow, steady stream. Stop the mixer to scrape down the sides. Turn back on to a low speed and add the lemon zest, vanilla and almond extracts, and a pinch of salt. Next add the eggs, one at a time. Stop to scrape down the sides one more time and turn back on for a moment to just incorporate ingredients.

Pour the mixture over the crust and spread into an even layer (you might need to wiggle the pan to remove any air bubbles). Bake for 25 min. Remove from the oven and allow the cheesecake cool completely. Then refrigerate until firm, 4 hrs to overnight.

Run a sharp knife along the long sides of the cheesecake. Carefully pull up the four corners of the cheesecake to loosen. Then grip the parchment and carefully lift the cheesecake out of the tray onto a flat surface. Using a sharp knife, cut the cheesecake into 48 squares - 8 vertical cuts and 6 horizontal cuts. Make sure to clean the knife after each cut to prevent the filling from tearing. Martha's Tip: you can use unflavored floss to mark straight lines before cutting.
(Note: I found the crust difficult to cut once the cheesecake was chilled, which also tore the filling. I would recommend cutting the cheesecake after allowing it to rest for 10-15 min once it has been removed from the tray.)

Transfer the cut squares to a serving platter. Decorate the top left squares (3 down, 4 across) with a blackberry in the center, surrounded by blueberries. Beginning with the remaining top row squares, and every other row thereafter, adorn with raspberries. Finally, dust the empty squares with powdered sugar or top with halved strawberries dusted with powdered sugar. To prevent the other rows from being dusted, you can choose to remove the squares and replace them once covered, or use paper towels to carefully cover the berries while dusting the rows. Make sure to dust thoroughly as the powdered sugar will seep into the cheesecake filling.

Recipe printed from Le Grand Fromage: http://brielegrandfromage.blogspot.com/

URL to recipe: http://brielegrandfromage.blogspot.com/2009/07/happy-feasting-on-4th-of-july.html

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