Strawberry Rhubarb Cheesecake Bars

Almost everyone has that one memory of going to Grandma and Grandpas house when we were kids that really sticks out. In this case it is Nana and Papas house. When I was a kid I LOVED going to my Nana and Papas house. The baking, crafts, games, but most of all the garden. My Papa is very passionate about his garden. He is out there everyday doing critical up keep to make sure it is the best garden it could possibly be. I will always remember walking to the garden with him and hearing the “watch were you step” and “don’t step on my plants” speeches, following behind him eating the green beans, sugar peas, carrots, but most of all the rhubarb! He would pull a piece of rhubarb from the ground, cut both ends off, hand it to me, and watch me run up to the house to get a bowl of sugar from Nana. I would sit on the deck with my bowl of sugar to dip my piece of rhubarb in just loving life. As I get older I can’t eat raw rhubarb like I used to, it is WAY too tart. I found this recipe that has been a fan favorite for anyone that has tried it and I am still able to get my rhubarb fix without all the tartness! I actually get requests to make these AT LEAST four times every summer!

Ingredients

For the filling

  • 2 cups of rhubarb
  • 2 cups of strawberries
  • 2 8oz bricks of cream cheese (room temp)
  • 2 cups of sugar (divided)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla 
  • 3 tbsp cornstarch

  For the crust/topping

  • 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1 cup butter chilled 

Tips

  • If you use frozen rhubarb – let thaw completely and drain most of the liquid.
  • You could substitute either fruit.  Blueberries, peaches, or raspberries would be great options
  • You can either serve warm or cooled.  I have had people love them either way. 

Preparation

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees (F) and line a 9×13” pan with parchment. (sometimes I will put a small dab of butter or spray of oil in the corners of the pan to help the parchment stick)
  2. In a mixer bowl, combine flour and brown sugar.  Once mixed cut in the butter.  Continue mixing on low until the mixture becomes coarse and crumbles ( the size of a pea or smaller).  Be sure you do not over mix.  (sometimes I hand mix this part)
  3. Pour half the mixture into the lined pan.  Press the mixture down to form a crust.  The crust can come up a little on the sides but you don’t want it to far up.
  4. Bake in the oven for 10-15 minutes or until the edges start to be a little golden brown

To Make the filling 

  1. In a medium bowl coat the rhubarb and strawberries with cornstarch and ½ cup of sugar, mix, and let sit.
  2. In a separate bowl combine the cream cheese, and remaining sugar until light and fluffy.  Add the egg and vanilla. Mix at a medium speed until well blended.
  3. Pour the cream cheese mixture over the partially baked crust slowly and spread it evenly.
  4. Sprinkle the strawberry rhubarb  mixture over the cream cheese. Remember the cream cheese is soft so you will not be able to do anymore spreading of the strawberry mix.
  5. Pour what juice is left in the bowl in any open spots on top of the cream cheese.  
  6. Use the remaining crust crumple to sprinkle over the top of the bars.
  7. Bake at 350 degrees (F) for 40-45 minutes.  The bars will be done when the edges are a golden brown and if you give the pan a little shake there should be a slight jiggle in the middle.
  8. Cool on a cooling rack for about an hour then refrigerate for at least 3 hours for best results.
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