Cheesecake of the Month — April 2015!

Every once in a while, I will get a special request for a flavor of cheesecake that you would not often consider “mainstream.”  I have always been able to come through.  The request that I thought was going to be the most challenging turned out to be quite simple (and very tasty — pomegranate).  My latest request was to make a rhubarb cheesecake and once again I was able to find a recipe (and the ingredients — it helps to have the fruit “in season”).

Rhubarb Cheesecake

2-1/2 cups of thinly sliced fresh or frozen rhubarb, thawed
1/3 cup of sugar
2 Tablespoons of orange juice
8 one-ounce squares of white baking chocolate
2 cups of graham cracker crumbs
1/3 cup of butter, melted
3 eight-ounce packages of cream cheese, softened
1 sixteen-ounce carton of sour cream
1/2 cup of sugar
1 Tablespoon of cornstarch
2 teaspoons of vanilla
1/2 teaspoon of salt
3 eggs
Whipped cream (optional)
White baking chocolate curls (optional)
Mint leaves (optional)

1.  For the sauce: in a medium saucepan, combine the rhubarb, 1/3 cup of sugar, and orange juice.  Bring just to boiling and reduce the heat.  Continue to cook, uncovered, for about five (5) minutes or until the rhubarb is tender, stirring occasionally.  Set aside.

2.  In a heavy small saucepan, melt the white chocolate baking squares over very low heat, stirring occasionally.   Set aside to cool.

3.  For the crust: in a medium bowl, combine the graham cracker crumbs and butter.  Press the mixture onto the bottom and up the sides of a 10-inch springform pan.  Wrap the outside of the pan with heavy foil and set aside.

4.  For the filling: in a very large bowl, beat the cream cheese, sour cream, 1/2 cup of sugar, cornstarch, vanilla, and salt with an electric mixer on medium speed until well blended.  Add the eggs, one at a time, beating just until combined after each addition.

5.  Pour half of the filling into your crust-lined pan.  Spoon 1 cup of the rhubarb sauce over the filling, spreading evenly.  Top with the remaining filling.  Spoon the remaining rhubarb sauce over the filling.  Using the back of a spoon, gently swirl the rhubarb mixture into the filling.

6.  Place the springform pan in a large roasting pan.  Place the roasting pan on the oven rack and carefully pour boiling water into the pan until it is halfway up the sides of the springform pan.

7.  Bake in a 350 degree oven for 1-1/2 to 2 hours or until the edge of the cheesecake if firm and the c enter appears nearly set  when lightly shaken.  Check the water level every 30 minutes and add more water if needed.  Carefully remove the cheesecake pan from the water bath and transfer to a wire rack and cool for 15 minutes.  Remove the foil.  Loosen the cheesecake from the sides of the pan by carefully running a knife around the edge of the pan.  Cool cheesecake for 30 minutes more.  Remove the sides of the pan and cool completely.  Cover the cheesecake with plastic wrap and chill for at least 4 hours before serving.

8.  Just before serving, pipe whipped cream on the top of the cheesecake and garnish with the chocolate curls and/or the mint.


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