Raspberry Cheesecake Bars

I’m very particular about my cheesecake.  I’m not a big fan of the super-dense kind – I prefer mine to have a little bit of lightness in them.  These are great because they are kind of light (for cheesecake, anyway, let’s not get crazy), but the rasperries add an additional tartness and lightness, along with some cool color to the overall presentation.

Now any of you who pay any attention to my recipes knows that I am not hugely worried about presentation in general.  That said, I’m not a monster – I’d prefer they look good to looking like crap.  And damned if these don’t look good!

Plus, cheesecake is kind of a rich dessert so this recipe doesn’t make a lot, which is perfect.

Ingredients

Raspberry Swirl

·        2 cups frozen raspberries (yeah, that’s it – you’ll see)

Crust

·        1 cup crushed graham crackers

·        1/2 stick butter, melted

Cheesecake

·        11 oz cream cheese, softened to room temperature

·        2 eggs, brought to room temperature

·        3/4 cup sugar

·        3 T sour cream

·        2 t vanilla

·        zest of 1 lemon

·        15 or so additional frozen raspberries

Directions

For the raspberry swirl:

In a small saucepan, cook the raspberries on medium-high heat until they have released their juice and part of the liquid has evaporated.

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Pass the raspberry mixture through a sieve to remove the seeds and skin (by the way, I didn’t get out all of the seeds and you shouldn’t stress if you don’t)

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It’s a super pretty color, right??

Return the raspberry juice to the saucepan and cook further until it has decreased in volume and gotten thicker.

Take it off the heat and let it cool.

For the crust:

In a bowl, mix together the crushed graham crackers and the melted butter with a wooden spoon.  You might need to get your hands in there, too – just make sure it’s all mixed together well.

Butter and flour a small 8″ x 8″ baking tin and press the graham cracker mixture into the baking tin.

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Bake at 350 for about 10 minutes, or until the crust starts to brown a little on the edges, then take it from the oven move it to a wire rack to cool a bit (it won’t need to cool all the way).

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For cream cheese filling:

Lower the oven temperature to 320.

Mix the cream cheese, eggs, sugar, sour cream, vanilla and lemon zest together until smooth, then transfer the filling on top of the baked crust.

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Drizzle the raspberry goo on top of the filling, and create a swirl pattern with a toothpick or a spoon.

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Bake at 320 for about 50 minutes to an hour, or until the filling is light golden brown around the edges and the middle is still slightly wobbly when you shake the tin.

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Move the tin to a wire rack and let it cool down to room temperature, then transfer it to the fridge for a couple hours (or overnight) to completely set.  Cut into bars and serve!

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