Monday, June 8, 2015

Raspberry Rhubarb Cheesecake Bars


The garden is growing and supplying me with plentiful rhubarb. I thank the English settlers who brought rhubarb to the United States in the 1820s! How swiftly it spread in popularity across our country where it thrived.

Each year, I try to find at least 2-3 new rhubarb recipes to try.  Some are absolute winners and some...not so much.  This one is an absolute winner!  Sliced rhubarb is mixed with raspberries rather than the traditional strawberries.  I loved the combination. 


A nutty, shortbread base and a creamy, cheesecake-like topping make this recipe easy to make a day ahead.  We had friends for dinner this weekend and this was the dessert I offered. Thumbs up all around the table!  Although this doesn't need anything else to make it delicious, we added a scoop of lemon-flavored ice cream and a few extra raspberries.  Hello, sunshine! 


In the garden, the peonies are blooming.  Much like Lilies of the Valley, peonies have a fragrance that is incomparable.



Raspberry-Rhubarb Cheesecake Bars

Adapted from Southern Living, May 2015
Note: I adapted this recipe for an 8 x 8 pan - half of the original recipe.  My measurements are in parentheses.

CRUST

2 cups (1 C) all-purpose flour
1/2 cup (1/4 C) powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon (1/4 tsp) baking soda
1/4 teaspoon (1/8 tsp) table salt
3/4 cup cold butter (6 tablespoons), cubed
3/4 cup (1/4 + 1/8 cup) toasted slivered almonds, coarsely chopped
Parchment paper and cooking spray to prepare the baking pan

RHUBARB-RASPBERRY FILLING

3/4 cup (1/4 + 1/8 cup) granulated sugar
1/4 cup (1/8 C) cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon (1/8 tsp) table salt
1 pound rhubarb or 1-lb package frozen rhubarb, thawed, (1/2 lb or about 2 cups fresh) cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices
2 6-ounce (1 6-oz) containers fresh raspberries
1 teaspoon (1/2 tsp) vanilla extract

CREAM CHEESE BATTER

2 8-ounce (1 8-oz) packages cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup (1/4 + 1/8 C) granulated sugar
2 (1) large eggs
1 teaspoon (1/2 tsp) lemon zest
1 tablespoon (1 tsp + 1/2 tsp) fresh lemon juice

Optional garnishes:  Powdered sugar, fresh raspberries or lemon ice cream

To prepare the crust: Preheat oven to 350°.  Toast the almonds in a small frying pan over medium heat, stirring every few minutes, until golden. Coarsely chop the almonds and set aside. Spray an 13 x 9 (8 x 8 for half recipe) inch baking pan with non-stick baking spray.  Cut a piece of parchment paper the size of the bottom of the pan by outlining it on a piece of parchment and cut to fit. Place the parchment in the bottom of the pay and spray the parchment with baking spray. Stir together flour, powdered sugar and baking soda in a large bowl.  Cut the cubed butter into flour mixture with a pastry blender until crumbly. Stir in the toasted almonds. Press the mixture onto the bottom of the prepared pan.  Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool on a wire rack until ready to use.

To prepare the filling: Stir together the granulated sugar, cornstarch and salt in a large heavy saucepan.  Stir in rhubarb and 1 (1/2) container raspberries. Let stand 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Bring mixture to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly. Reduce heat to low, and simmer 3 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat, and stir in vanilla and remaining raspberries.

To prepare the cream cheese batter: Beat the cream cheese and granulated sugar with an electric mixer until smooth. Add eggs, 1 at a time, and beat just until blended after each addition. Add lemon zest and juice, beating well.

Spread Rhubarb-Raspberry Filling over Crust. Gently spread Cream Cheese Batter over filling.

Bake at 350° for 25 to 30 minutes or until set (mine took about 40 minutes). The center should have risen to the same height as the outsides. Cool on a wire rack at least 1 hour.

Cover and chill 4 to 8 hours. Cut into bars and serve with fresh raspberries or lemon ice cream. 

50 comments:

  1. Sounds delicious! I have a strawberry cheesecake with a sugar cookie base sitting in the fridge. I am not a fan, though John likes it very much. It has no eggs and also has a tub of cottage cheese blended until smooth I am pretty sure that I'd prefer this recipe.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hi Susan, I have never had rhubarb with raspberry before, sounds delicious. Love peonies, they are one of my favorite flowers. I have not had much luck in growing them here. Wondering if you are a master gardener, I remember your photos from last year, amazing!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This was the first time I had tried the combination of rhubarb and raspberries too. We loved it. I would think Oregon would be a lovely climate for peony growing. Maybe you could visit a local nursery and ask for suggestions on the best varieties, Cheri. If you count years of practice, then yes, I'm a master gardener :) But no, not officially. It's just a love of mine.

      Delete
  3. I am quickly becoming a fan of rhubarb and I have a lot of years to make up for! These sound fabulous! My peonies are bloomin,g but this year because of our late snow, the stems are hooked. They also don't smell which may be because of the late freeze. You got me! They are still gorgeous, though-just like this recipe!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You've had some crazy weather in Colorado this spring, Abbe! I'm sorry you can't smell that wonderful scent. I grew up with rhubarb but it was many years before I grew it in my own yard so I'm making up for lost time too :) Thanks, Abbe.

      Delete
  4. This looks like the type of dessert I would skip main dish, salad and sides for! wow! Love that thick layer of tangy and crunchy rhubarb and raspberries in there, what a treat!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Joumana! I had it for breakfast the following day :) It is such a delightful combination of layers.

      Delete
  5. One of the best summer desserts, Susan. I still haven't baked anything with rhubarb this year yet, this seems the perfect one to start with.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Angie! It is a winner, in my mind.

      Delete
  6. I love everything about this dessert and your lemon ice cream addition sounds great too Susan! Glad to hear the garden is treating you well-enjoy:@)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The lemon ice cream was the surprising last-minute addition. A local well-known Milwaukee custard chain was selling Palermo Lemon custard that day so we got some to pair with it. Delicious! Thanks, Lynn!

      Delete
  7. I've had strawberries with rhubarb, but never raspberries, but I can still imagine how tasty these were.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It was my first time using raspberries too, Larry. Great taste! Thank you!

      Delete
  8. Those blurry purple petunias in that top shot are outstanding. And these bars sound really good. Every rhubarb season I wonder why I haven't made anything. So many beautiful desserts.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Lea Ann! I'm making up for lost time now that I'm a rhubarb grower :)

      Delete
  9. Looks so good! The flowers are beautiful - thanks for sharing them with us.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Glenda! Maybe your daughter would like the recipe :)

      Delete
  10. Oh my goodness! I want these NOW! I've got more rhubarb coming up after already one harvest. Guess what I'm going to make? :-) Thanks for the recipe Susan!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm glad you're going to try them, Roz! I know you'll love them :) Thanks so much.

      Delete
  11. Wow! Looks superbly good!...Christine

    ReplyDelete
  12. They look fantastic Susan..I love shortbread crusts..and I bet rhubarb/raspberry combo is wonderful.

    Love the vase w/ the peonies:)♥

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Everything I love too. I knew I had to make them! I love that vase too. It was a gift from Lindsay :) I'll bet you have peonies blooming now too. Such a wonderful time of year!

      Delete
  13. a perfect summer dessert Susan, Wonderful flowers, a warm hug from Italy !

    ReplyDelete
  14. These bars look beautiful and delicious Susan!!:))
    xoxo

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I knew you would like the raspberries :-) Thank you, Gloria!

      Delete
  15. Another delicious rhubarb recipe!!! Don't you wish we had fresh produce and flowers like this all year? Hope you're having a great week. The heat has dropped in here, 97 today. Crazy, seriously it's June 9th?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. And it may not be the last :) Yes, it is a wonderful time of year! It reached 91 here today, much higher than predicted. This has been a crazy spring so far! Thanks, Julie.

      Delete
  16. First of all, those peonies are beautiful and I too, love the smell they bring into the house. Then those cheesecake bars - wow, they sound fabulous with the rhubarb and raspberries. I'd love to be having a piece right now.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Don't they smell wonderful?! I had another piece for lunch today :) It lasts for a few days really well!

      Delete
  17. The peonies are so beautiful! I wish I have a vase of flowers at home... but my husband, a very non-romantic person, only allows "practical plants", so I only have coriander and mint in the balcony... haha! Those cheesecake bars look amazing and delicious!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Those are better to cook with anyway, Jasline :) Thank you!

      Delete
  18. I'm so envious of your garden! Peonies and rhubarbs!
    Your cheesecake bars looks so delicious!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am so grateful and happy to have my garden, Joyce. Thank you!

      Delete
  19. Susan, I know I was suppose to drop in to see you today! I love rhubarb and oh my, that recipe looks delicious! What's not to love, cheesecake...rhubarb and peonies! Awesome post!
    Nancy

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Nancy! I love rhubarb too, as everyone probably guessed :)

      Delete
  20. This looks good. Like a nugget of summer.
    Amalia
    xo

    ReplyDelete
  21. I know I am going to love this. Great combination with the raspberries - brilliant and beautiful! Love peonies - the fragrance is intoxicating. Have a great weekend!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Tricia! I hope you're able to try it - it's delicious.

      Delete
  22. Never have combined rhubarb and raspberries, Susan. Looks delicious!

    I remember arriving in Paris my first time....my daughter was living there...and she had a big glass bowl of peonies in the center of her table. Gorgeous! Now, every time I see them, I think of that magical day.

    ReplyDelete
  23. Susan, I think I need to make this soon! I love everything about this dessert and your lemon ice cream addition sounds great. I hope you are enjoying your days in the garden.

    ReplyDelete
  24. Wonderful dessert Susan. This combo sounds so interesting. Ahh peonies. Wish I had better luck with them. They are so showy and beautiful.

    ReplyDelete
  25. Is it crazy that I want to make these for breakfast... right now? Swooning at these beauties!

    ReplyDelete
  26. Oh wow! Third recipe I have seen in the past 2 days with Rhubarb!!! I must seek out this stalk and try it for myself!

    ReplyDelete
  27. lovely combo and adore your flowers

    ReplyDelete
  28. I am a lover of all things 'rhubarb' pies, cakes, cheesecake bars..love them all and with raspberries-even better! I would love to grow rhubarb in my garden-the more the better ;)

    ReplyDelete

I appreciate your comments! I turned off Anonymous comments due to spam. If you need to contact me regarding a recipe, please use my email address found under About Me in the tool bar at the top of the page.