Strawberry Shortbread Cheesecake Bars may sound like a tongue twister, so let us break it down to understand what is happening here. Between fruit picking farms and grocery store spreads -- it is evident when the strawberry season hits in Canada. Ontario strawberries are easy to find in July and are almost incomparable to the American version we receive in the winter. Delicate and exploding with sweetness, the strawberries are practically untouched in this recipe so that the natural flavours can speak for themselves. Holding up the bar is the buttery Scottish shortbread base, made up of only 3-ingredients, and incredibly decadent. On the top, the strawberry blend swirls around the cheesecake center -- lending each bite the perfect ratio of sweet strawberry and rich cheesecake. Remember, these bars must set in the fridge for at least 4 hours, so plan ahead!
If you give this recipe a shot, make sure to post up your creation on Instagram and tag @tastetoronto and @maddygoldberg!
Strawberry Shortbread Cheesecake Bars 7 Steps
Preheat oven to 325°F.
Grease or line a 8"x 8" oven safe dish with parchment paper. In a large bowl, combine ingredients for the shortbread crust and mix with a spoon until combined. Flatten the shortbread crust into the dish and press with your palm or back of hand to evenly distribute. Try to avoid using your fingers as this will make unwanted indents.
Pierce dough with a fork, leaving about 2 inches between. There should be 12-15 indents and they should go about halfway through the crust. Bake for about 25 minutes or until crust begins to brown very slightly on the edges and looks cooked in the centre. Set aside to cool.
Cut cream cheese into 1-inch cubes. In a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, combine cream cheese and sugar. Mix until smooth. Add vanilla and egg and mix until smooth. Add sour cream and 35% cream and mix until smooth. Set aside in fridge.
In a blender, add 1/3 cup of fresh strawberries and blend until smooth. Add 1 tablespoon of water at a time if the strawberries are not blending. Set aside.
Once crust has cooled, pour the entire cheesecake base on top of shortbread. Using a large spoon, drop about 1 tablespoon dots of blended strawberry all around the cheesecake so they are spread out. Using a butter knife, lightly drag the knife in a zig zag pattern from top to bottom of cheesecake making sure not to touch the crust. You are looking to distribute the strawberry blend evenly and it should create a nice pattern.
Bake for 20-30 minutes or until cheesecake is set. To test: lightly move the dish back and forth to test if the center is still liquid. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours before eating.