Cakes and Cheesecakes

Lemon Berry Cheesecake Bars

I’m all for easy yet delicious desserts.  Beautiful, tasty desserts don’t need to be complicated and this recipe for Lemon Berry Cheesecake Bars is a perfect example.  If you love cheesecake but don’t want to get out the springform pan and set up a water bath, you can still enjoy this easier and versatile version of cheesecake. 

Exceptionally creamy and rich, just tangy enough with bright lemon flavor, and bursting with summer berries – each bite is divine.  Whether you are looking for a crowd-pleasing dessert for a potluck or picnic, an amazing dessert for company, or a special treat for your family, this will be the recipe you will come back to time and time again.  Each scrumptious bite will remind you of a sunny afternoon, when life is easy and it seems summer will last forever!

Lemon Berry Cheesecake Bars

Buttery shortbread crust, creamy, rich cheesecake filling, and fresh berry compote swirled throughout – a luscious dessert perfect for summer.
Author Rosalie D’Amico

Ingredients

For the Berries

  • 1 cup fresh strawberries, stems removed and sliced
  • 1 cup fresh blueberries
  • 1 cup fresh raspberries
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice

Shortbread Crust

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • ¼ cup cornstarch
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup unsalted butter, room temp
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons grated lemon zest

Cheesecake Filling

  • 24 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • Zest of one lemon
  • 3 eggs, room temperature

Instructions

For the Berries

  • Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan and simmer until thickened and slightly reduced to a jammy consistency.
  • Chill thoroughly before using.

Shortbread Crust

  • Preheat the oven to 325° convection.
  • Spray a 9×13 inch baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.
  • Add the crust ingredients to a food processor and pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal.
  • Transfer to prepared baking dish and press evenly into the bottom. A one cup measuring cup works well for this step.
  • Bake for 15 minutes.

Cheesecake Filling

  • In a stand mixer with paddle attachment, beat room temperature cream cheese on medium speed until smooth and creamy.
  • Add sugar and combine well.
  • Add sour cream, vanilla extract, salt, lemon juice and zest and mix well, scraping down the bowl as needed.
  • Add eggs one at a time until well incorporated, but do not overbeat. You do not want to whip too much air into the filling.
  • Pour half of the filling over the baked crust and spread evenly.
  • Dollop half (about ¾ cup) of the cooled berries randomly over the cream cheese filling and swirl with a skewer of knife.
  • Top with remaining cream cheese mixture, carefully spread evenly and repeat with remaining berries.
  • Bake for about 40 minutes at 325° convection. The cheesecake bars are done when edges are puffed and lightly browned and the center still seems a little jiggly.
  • Cool and chill thoroughly before cutting. Loosen all around the edges with a spatula and cut any size you like. Use a small, sharp knife dipped in hot water to cut the bars. Wipe the water off of the knife before cutting.
  • To serve, garnish with fresh berries (optional).

Notes

You can use IQF frozen berries instead of fresh.
Substitute Basic Graham Cracker Crust (p. 245 in the Cookbook) if you prefer.