Upside-Down Rhubarb Cheesecake

Layers of fresh or frozen rhubarb and cheesecake, that luscious combination of rhubarb-sour and cheesecake-creamy. Make it in a simple pie plate or in cute mini ramekins. Either way, it's spring! Time to break out the rhubarb!

Upside-Down Rhubarb Cheesecake

We’re babying a tiny rhubarb plant, a much-prized Canadian red transported last summer from Minnesota-black dirt. It barely survived last year's hotter’n’hades Missouri summer but is so small, even an Iowa boy weeding the garden didn’t recognize the small heart-shaped leaves on graceful red stalks.

So until Missouri rhubarb shows up in the markets, I’m using up last year’s frozen rhubarb, here with a recipe I’ve had my eye on for more than a year. Usually those recipes just never get made – I am so glad this one finally did!

The recipe is as much deconstructed cheesecake as it is upside down cheesecake. There are two barely sweet layers, one of fruit and another of cheesecake dusted with ginger-cookie crumbs.

It’s one of those recipes whose bones are so good, it’s easily adaptable. So far, I’ve made it twice, first with rhubarb and orange zest, then again with a mix of frozen blueberries and raspberries with lemon zest.

For fruit, I can imagine blackberries, chunks of mango, even fresh pineapple and coconut. In winter, apple mixed with cranberry would be great. Instead of citrus zest, how about almond extract or vanilla or a dry sherry?

My only question is, how many does this recipe serve?

BAKED in a PIE PLATE The first cheesecake filled a pie plate perfectly, plenty for serving six.

BAKED in RAMEKINS The second cheesecake, I used more fruit (about a pound and a half) and was surprised to fill a dozen one-cup ramekins. The cheesecake layer was thinner but the mixture was still delicious – and plenty. The small ramekins baked in 30 minutes.

ALANNA’s TIPS For a deep-dish pie plate or for a thicker layer of cream cheese, double the recipe. Full-fat cream cheese and lower-fat Neufchatel work equally well although the full-fat version is slightly creamier. For good or for ill, I have fallen in love with the 365 Brand ginger snap cookies from Whole Foods. They are crisp, almost hard, and sharp with ginger. Weight Watchers? Just 1 Weight Watchers point for two cookies! (!!!)
Kitchen Parade is written by second-generation food columnist Alanna Kellogg and features fresh, seasonal dishes for every-day healthful eating and occasional indulgences. Do you have a favorite rhubarb recipe that other Kitchen Parade readers might like? Just send me a quick e-mail via recipes@kitchen-parade.com. How to print a Kitchen Parade recipe. Never miss a recipe! If you like this recipe, sign up for a free e-mail subscription. If you like Kitchen Parade, you're sure to like my food blog about vegetable recipes, too, A Veggie Venture. Follow Kitchen Parade on Facebook!

UPSIDE DOWN RHUBARB CHEESECAKE RECIPE

Hands-on time: 30 minutes
Time to table: 2 hours
Serves 6 or 12
    RHUBARB LAYER
  • 1 pound (450g) rhubarb, fresh or frozen, cut in small pieces
  • 1 tablespoon water (omit for frozen rhubarb)
  • 3 tablespoons (45g) sugar
  • 1/2 tablespoon cornstarch
    CHEESECAKE LAYER
  • 8 ounces (225g) cream cheese
  • 1/4 cup (55g) sugar
  • 1/2 tablespoon cornstarch
  • Zest of an orange or lemon or lime
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tablespoons (25g) sour cream
    TOPPING
  • About 1 cup ground ginger snap cookies (see TIPS)

Preheat oven to 325F.

RHUBARB In a large saucepan, cook rhubarb, water and sugar on medium heat until rhubarb softens but pieces still remain intact. Sprinkle cornstarch over top, gently stir into rhubarb and let simmer for a minute or two. Let cool.

CHEESECAKE In a large bowl, combine cream cheese, sugar, cornstarch and orange zest until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs one at a time. Beat in sour cream.

[To prep ahead, stop here and refrigerate the two mixtures separately. Grind the ginger snap cookies.]

COMBINE Pour rhubarb into a pie plate or equivalent size baking dish. Spread cheesecake mixture over the top, sealing the edges. Sprinkle cookie crumbs over top.

BAKE Bake for 50 – 60 minutes until the center is barely set. Let cool for up to 30 minutes, serve warm.

TO BAKE AHEAD If you like, make ahead of time and then rewarm. Just bake and cool, then cover with foil and refrigerate, then rewarm in a 180F oven.

NUTRITION INFORMATION
With Full-Fat Cream Cheese, Per 12/6 Servings: 165/330 Calories; 8/17g Tot Fat; 4/9g Sat Fat; 39/78mg Cholesterol; 107/214mg Sodium; 20/39g Carb; 1g Fiber; 12/25g Sugar; 3/5g Protein. WEIGHT WATCHERS POINTS WW Old Points 4/8, WW PointsPlus 4/9

With Low-Fat Cream Cheese, Per 12/6 Servings: 142/285 Calories; 5/11g Tot Fat; 3/5g Sat Fat; 29/58mg Cholesterol; 107/214mg Sodium; 20/41g Carb; 1g Fiber; 12/25g Sugar; 3/6g Protein. WEIGHT WATCHERS POINTS WW Old Points 3/6, WW PointsPlus 4/8

This recipe has been 'Alanna-sized' with reductions in portion size and increasing the proportion of fruit:cheesecake.

Mini Upside-Down Rhubarb Cheesecakes


Mini Upside-Down Rhubarb Cheesecakes

Do you love small ramekins too? This recipe fills twelve one-cup ramekins, perfect for serving a crowd and yes, portion control.


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Alanna,
Thanks for including the alternate fruit variations. I happen to live with the man who grew up next door to someone foisting terrible rhubarb pies onto him each Spring and as a result he refuses to eat rhubarb. Even GOOD rhubarb pie is spurned by this . . . . individual.
However, I've got blueberries and raspberries--and even a bag of cranberries--put up in the freezer so this appeals greatly to me now.

Thanks!
 

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Thank you for taking a moment to write! I read each and every comment, for each and every recipe. If you have a specific question, it's nearly always answered quick-quick. But I also love hearing your reactions, your curiosity, even your concerns! When you've made a recipe, I especially love to know how it turned out, what variations you made, what you'll do differently the next time. ~ Alanna