I shy away from baking cheesecake for a long time. There was a time when a majestic New York style cheesecake graced my kitchen every few weeks. I was determined to master the craft of homemade cheesecake with mahogany top and creamy centre. And no cracks! That was the holy grail.
Ambition fell to the wayside when I had my first taste of the golden standard. A slice of original cheesecake from Brooklyn’s Junior’s Restaurant left me discouraged. It was exactly what I wanted to achieve…without any of the work. Since then, I am happy to enjoy this special treat on my annual trip to New York City. Cheesecake disappeared from my repertoire.
That does not mean I don’t use cream cheese in baking anymore. The intricacy of New York style cheesecake may not tempt me to bake but I do love the baked custardy treat. Cheesecake bar is a particular favourite because it is portable, less decadent, yet still delivering all the qualities I love about cheesecake. Making cookie crumb crust is a breeze with food processor. The thin layer of filling does not demand hours of baking at low temperature. In fact, it can be done without any fussy water bath and the oven going at full blast!
Last night we had a respite from heat wave so of course I took the opportunity to bake. I had a big basket of apricots and my search for apricot recipes led me to Martha Stewart. I don’t use their recipes very often nowadays but they have always been dependable, if lacking the wow factor. As soon as I laid eyes on the photo of Apricot Cheesecake Bars, there was no escape. How could I say no to those sunny swirls of bright orange?
This recipe cannot be simpler. A mix of graham cracker and speculoo cookie crumbs made up the parbaked crust. Cooked apricot compote formed decorative swirls over a layer of smooth cream cheese sour cream custard. There is nothing challenging about the combination of tangy, creamy, buttery, and crunchy.
It certainly isn’t a slice of cheesecake from Junior’s but I also do not need to skip dinner to save room for such decadent treat. The apricot cheesecake bar slices like a dream and held together nicely. Cutlery is entirely optional. This is the cheesecake to bring to casual potluck or summer barbecues. It is not an occasion to celebrate but it makes even the everyday a little less mundane.
Best part? The baking time only took grand total of 45 minutes. My air conditioner could not be happier.
More easy cheesecakes:
- cherry cheesecake in a jar
- no-bake cherry cheesecake
- spiced pumpkin cheesecake with candied pepitas
- soufflé goat cheese cheesecake
- goat cheese cheesecake with sorbet pomme tatin