Roasted Cherry Cheesecake Bars

I love a good cheesecake, but add some fruits to it and even the best cheesecake will ascend to a whole other level. This week's recipe features cheesecake with cherries for that added punch. I love roasted veggies and fruits but I have never had roasted cherries so I wanted to be a little creative this week and incorporate it somehow into a dish in a way that would significantly benefit from the cherries. So I thought, why not cheesecake? The creamy richness of the cheesecake paired with the tart roasted cherries is amazing. Such a great combination. The little one loved it and my husband did as well. I hope you will enjoy this recipe as much as we did.

Roasted Cherry Cheesecake Bars

Yield: makes 16 bars


Ingredients:

Crust:

1 ¼ cups graham cracker crumbs
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
6 tablespoons butter, melted

Cheesecake filling:

5 cups cherries, halved and pitted
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoon all purpose flour
20 oz. cream cheese, softened
4 large eggs
2 tablespoons heavy cream
¼ cup sour cream
1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract


Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Place cherries on a baking sheet and roast in preheated oven for 20 minutes. Remove it from the oven and and let it cool.

For the crust:

Grease an 8 x 8 baking dish with butter; set aside. In a small bowl, whisk together graham cracker crumbs and sugar. Pour in the melted butter and use a fork to combine the ingredients until evenly moistened. Press the mixture into an even layer on prepared baking dish and bake in preheated oven for 10 minutes. Remove it from the oven and let it cool. Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees F.

For the filling:

In the bowl of a standmixer fitted with a whisk attachment, whisk the sugar and flour together. Add in the softened cream cheese and whisk on medium low speed to combine the mixture until it is smooth. Add in eggs one at a time and mix until just combined after each addition; scraping down the sides if needed. Add heavy cream, sour cream and vanilla extract and blend until just combined. Reserve a ¼ cup of the roasted cherries; set aside. Fold in the remaining roasted cherries into the cheesecake batter. Tap the bowl about 20-30 times to release air bubbles from the batter. Butter the sides of the baking dish and pour filling over crust. 

Place the ¼ cup of roasted cherries into the bowl of a food processor or blender, pulse 5-6 times just to get the juices out. Pour it on top of the cheesecake and lightly run a butter knife through the top making swirl designs with the cherries.

 Set the 8 x 8 baking dish into a 13 x 9 baking dish and pour hot water about halfway up sides of the 8 x 8 baking dish. You are only pouring the water into the pan without the cheesecake in it, simply to create a water bath which will help the cheesecake cook more evenly and reduce the possibility of cracking. Bake in preheated oven for 50 minutes, turn the oven off and let the cheesecake rest in warm oven with the door closed for 10 minutes longer. Remove from oven and cool at room temperature on a wire rack for 1 hour, then cover and chill in the fridge for 5 hours.

Cut into 16 even sized bars and serve.

Enjoy!