Rhubarb lovers, rejoice! I am all about rhubarb right now, especially the strawberry rhubarb combo, and these strawberry rhubarb cheesecake bars deliver! Now whether you’re all about rhubarb or haven’t quite figured out your relationship status yet, these cheesecake bars are for you. They’re the perfect balance of bright and fruity meets luscious cheesecake in a production you won’t be able to take your eyes off of, or your hands for that matter.
So as soon as I get my hands on rhubarb, I immediately make strawberry rhubarb compote. It’s extremely easy to make and filled with vanilla bean and fresh orange zest, it’s very difficult to not just pick up a spoon and call it a day! I highly suggest making an extra batch for yourself. Please be aware that the compote recipe yields about 10 ounces, but you will only need 6 ounces for the cheesecake. Make sure to measure, as adding too much will weigh the cheesecake down.
If you can pry yourself away from the compote long enough to make the cheesecake, you’ll be a happy camper. I divided the batter in half and stirred the compote in, swirling the two together over a gingersnap crust. By the way, the gingersnap crust – kind of that one element that ties the whole thing together. I know, it surprised me too, but that zippy flavor paired beautifully with the cheesecake.
The finished product is light yet satisfying all at once. The pop of pink is always an added bonus and you’ll notice the orange zest that we added to the compote floating around, adding this wonderful brightness to it. It’s one of those desserts that has all these layers of flavor that you just can’t help but go back for one more. Don’t say I didn’t warn you!
- 8 ounces rhubarb cut into 1/2 inch pieces
- 6 ounces (1/2 pint) strawberries, quartered
- 1/4 cup sugar (depending on sweetness)
- 1/2 vanilla bean
- zest of 1/2 an orange
- 1 & 1/2 cups gingersnap cookie crumbs
- 6 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 3 Tablespoons sugar
- 16 ounces cream cheese, room temp
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup light brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
- 2 eggs
- 6 ounces strawberry rhubarb compote
- 1 drop of pink food coloring if desired.
- Combine all ingredients in a saucepan, tossing to combine and bring to a boil. Keep an eye on it and give it a stir to make sure the fruit cooks evenly.
- Once it comes to a boil, lower heat and simmer for about 10-15 minutes till rhubarb is tender and compote starts to thicken.
- Transfer to a bowl and refrigerate till ready to use.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray 8x8" pan with non stick and line with parchment paper. Lightly spray with non stick again.
- Mix crumbs, melted butter and sugar together and press into pan evenly.
- Bake at 350 degrees for about 7-8 minutes. Set aside to cool.
- Lower oven to 325 degrees.
- Mix cream cheese and sugars in mixer till smooth.
- Add eggs one at a time on low speed followed by vanilla bean paste.
- Pour about half of the cheesecake batter into a separate bowl and stir in the 6 ounces of strawberry rhubarb compote. Stir in the 1 drop of pink food coloring as well. This will keep the pink color vibrant while baking.
- Alternate spooning both batters over the crust and swirl together with a toothpick.
- Bake at 325 degrees for 30-35 minutes till cheesecake is set.
- Set aside to come to room temp and then refrigerate for a few hours - overnight. To get a smooth, clean cut, freeze them for about an hour before you cut them.
I suggest letting the compote cool completely before adding it to the cheesecake batter.
The compote yields about 10 ounces, but it is important to only use 6 ounces in the cheesecake. Adding more will weight the batter down too much and will not set up properly.
The pink food coloring is optional. I add it to keep the pink color vibrant while baking. I use 1 drop of a gel based food coloring called rose pink.
Allow to cool completely before digging into these. They need time to set up.
To get a super clean cut, I freeze the cheesecake for about an hour and then use a very hot knife to cut them. Make sure to clean the knife after every cut.