You know it’s the first sign of Rhubarb Season – maybe you call it “Spring” – when a New Rhubarb recipe shows up! Rhubarb Crumble Cheesecake Bars!
Rhubarb. The misunderstood fruit. I can identify with that. It looks like a vegetable – celery – but we normally cook with it as we do with fruits. Pies, crisps, crumbles.
Growing up, we planted rhubarb in our backyard garden. But unlike here in the Pacific Northwest, we didn’t harvest it until mid to late summer. Must’ve been a slightly different variety. Mom couldn’t wait to cook the Tangy-Sweet Ruby Red Stalks stewed in sugar. Then put it into a pie or top with crispy brown sugary goodness! Wow! So much flavor in each bite.
I remember the first time I tried rhubarb. Mom had made Rhubarb Pie. I expected it would be like other fruits – sweet from the get-go. But that potent hit of tart blew me away. I was about to say, “I don’t like this!”. But that whoosh of brown-sugar sweetness brought me back to reality. It was amazing! One of my all-time favorite fruits, er…vegetables.
I like to try a new recipe every year with Rhubarb. These Rhubarb Crumble Cheesecake Bars are one of my all-time favorite ways to use the lovely ruby stalks. A crispy base layer, topped with a thin cheesecake filling, then topped with stewed rhubarb, along with a few berries, for exceptional color. Then another layer of crumble. And some almonds. Everything is in there! Back in my Elementary School Science class, we’d have thought of this as a complete meal – fruit (or veg!), dairy, grain, protein. I think that’s fair, don’t you?😉
So, celebrate Rhubarb Season with me! Make some Rhubarb Crumble Cheesecake Bars! And remember YOUR first taste of this delectable vegetable.
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Rhubarb Crumble Cheesecake Bars
The perfect Springtime dessert! Layered crispy crust, smooth cream cheese, rhubarb and all topped with more crumble! So delectable!
Best made the day before you want to serve them so the bottom crust crisps as it cools. Like many baked goods, the flavors and texture improves the second day. But I totally get it if you want to dig right in!
Enjoy these delicious treats!
For the Rhubarb Filling:
- 1 lb. Rhubarb, diced – about 4 cups
- (Optional) 1 c. Raspberries or sliced Strawberries
- 3/4 c Granulated Sugar
- 1 T Water
- 1 1/2 t Cornstarch
For the Cheesecake Filling:
- 12 oz. Cream Cheese, softened
- 1/2 c Confectioner’s Sugar, sifted
- 1 Lg. Egg, room temperature
For the Crust and Crumble:
- 3/4 c Butter, softened
- 1 3/4 c AP Flour
- 1 c Rolled Oats
- 3/4 c Lightly packed Brown Sugar (light or dark)
- 1/4 t Kosher Salt
- 1/2 c Sliced Almonds
Prepare the Rhubarb Filling:
- Preheat Conventional oven to 350F, or Convection oven to 335F. Prepare a 13×9 pan by greasing/buttering. If you would like to lift bars neatly out of the pan, place parchment paper so it overhangs edges of the pan.
- Into a small or medium saucepan over Medium heat, place rhubarb, berries (if using), sugar, and water. Heat, stirring regularly, until the fruits exude much of their water and soften, about 8 minutes.
- Add the cornstarch, heating and stirring an additional 2 minutes, until the mixture thickens somewhat.
- Pour into glass or ceramic dish and set aside to cool.
Prepare the Cream Cheese Filling:
- Whisk together the softened cream cheese, sifted sugar and the egg until smooth. Set aside.
Prepare the Crust/Crumble:
- Into a medium bowl, add the softened butter, flour, oats, brown sugar, salt, until crumbly.
- Pour half of the mixture into the prepared pan, pressing down with your hands until the bottom of the pan is evenly covered all the way to the corners. Add the sliced almonds to the crumble that remains in the bowl and combine.
- Pour the cream cheese mixture over the bottom crust and spread within 1/4” of the edges.
- Pour the mostly cooled rhubarb mixture over the cream cheese, spreading it gently so the layers don’t mix too much.
- Sprinkle the crumble mixture evenly over the top of the fruit mixture.
- Place in oven for 28-32 minutes, until golden brown.
- Cool completely before slicing, especially if you like the bottom crust CRISP!
- It’s ok to store covered, at room temperature, for a day or two. Otherwise, refrigerate.