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Remember how I told you there are so many things to do with a strawberry rhubarb compote and you kind of looked at me like “oh yeah right, prove it”?

Well, i’m putting my money where my mouth is.  Or rather, my compote where my cheesecake is.  Or something to that effect.

I had a couple of parties not too long ago that I needed to bring some sort of cheesecake dessert.  I went to the farmers market knowing I needed a good dessert and lo and behold, I spied some might fine looking rhubarb.  Not unlike a fruit version of George Clooney.

So I grabbed rhubarb and strawberries and made myself a simple strawberry rhubarb compote.

This recipe, by the way, is one and half the original and made a TON of cheesecake batter I used for bars and individual cheesecakes.  I brought the individual cheesecakes to one party and the bars to another.

This recipe was adapted from Paula Deen and is one of the few recipes of hers I use because usually they are too high fat for me to even bother.  I think when something has too much fat in it you can begin to lose the flavor of what you’re supposed to be eating.  But this recipe she uses is super simple and light. 

I know people, my dad especially, who love a really dense cheesecake a la Juniors in NYC.  While I do love a good NY cheesecake, I think when you’re adding in other strong flavors you want a lighter cheesecake to showcase and compliment them, rather than fight with them for attention in your mouth.  

So while the compote cooled, I made my graham cracker crust and pressed it into the individual muffin tins and the 9×13 pan.

What I did not do, and I will do next time, is add some cornstarch to the compote.  There is a lot of extra liquid and when you just add it straight on the crust makes for a soggy crust.  The cornstarch would take care of that issue. 

While you put the ingredients for the cheesecake in the mixer and let it whir a bit, add some compote on top of the graham cracker crust, covering it in a light layer.

Then take your cheesecake batter and pour it over the top until it just covers the compote.  You can swirl it a bit if you want some pretty colors (like I did with the mini cheesecakes), or just leave it alone and have each bite with 3 distinct layers (like I did with the bars).

Remember, the cheesecake won’t rise so you can fill it much fuller than you can with cake batter.

Once it is out of the oven, top immediately with a slice of strawberry if you have any extra (which you should because nothing is better for an afternoon snack than some fresh strawberries). 

Chill and serve.  They also work at room temp.

Strawberry Rhubarb Cheesecake

Heavily adapted from Paula Deen

Ingredients:

Crust:

  • 2 packages graham crackers (or about 2 1/2 cups crumbs)
  • 1 stick butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup sugar

Filling:

  • Strawberry Rhubarb Compote (recipe here) plus add in 1 tbsp cornstarch and mix.
  • 3 (8-oz) packages of cream cheese
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 eggs

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350.  Line a muffin tin with cupcake liners and lightly butter the sides of a 9×13 pan.  Don’t worry about buttering the bottom, the crust has enough butter to release easily.  It’s the filling that may stick.

For the crust:

  1. Place graham crackers into food processor and whirl until you have crumbs.  You can also put them in a sealed ziploc and smash with a hammer if you have some frustrations to deal with.
  2. Take the crumbs and put them in a medium bowl. 
  3. Add in the sugar and whisk to combine thoroughly.
  4. Pour in the melted butter and stir until the crumbs are all wet with the butter.  It will look like wet sand.
  5. Put enough crumbs to cover the bottom of the surface you are working with and press firmly with the back of your hand.  It should form a nice even surface, and you shouldn’t be able to see the tin or pyrex poking through.  If you do, add in more graham crackers.
  6. For each mini-cheesecake, add in approximately 1 tablespoon of compote on the crust.  For any other size, just cover the whole crust with a thin surface

For the filling:

  1. Fit your electric mixer with the paddle attachment
  2. Put in the cream cheese and mix it on medium for a few minutes, to loosen it up and get it nice and fluffy.
  3. Add in your sugar, vanilla and flour and beat for a few minutes until well mixed. 
  4. Add eggs in one at a time and beat each until fully incorporated. 
  5. Pour over the rhubarb compote until it almost reaches the top.  It won’t rise like a cake, so you don’t have to worry about it spilling over unless you bump the tray. 
  6. Bake the mini cheesecakes for about 20 minutes or until they are set.  Bake the 9×13 pan for 30-40 minutes, or until set. 
  7. While they are baking, slice up some remaining strawberries.  After they are done, remove from the oven and let cool for 5 minutes.  Place a slice of strawberry on top. 
  8. Let cool completely, then remove from muffin tin or tray.  Put in the fridge until ready to serve.  Can be served cold or at room temperature.
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