I don’t normally complain about desserts. I find the production of a challenging layer cake rewarding. And most times even a flop of a dessert still tastes good. This example didn’t flop and tasted awesome, but it was a pain in the butt.
Cleaning a food processor 2 times should have been a clue. Seriously? The author of this recipe didn’t think that sounded insane? Clearly not, because that, along with a “20 minutes hands on time,” was printed in Cooking Light.
I made the necessary changes below, suggesting that you assemble the shortbread the good old fashioned way: with your hands. You’ll still need to clean the food processor out once or grab a mini food pro for your cherries, which is what I opted to do. That’s what dishwashers are for.
And you’ll likely need more than 20 minutes of hands on time. But it’s worth it for these light bars. The crust is dense but not crunchy. The creamy cheesecake filling is a nice contrast to the sweet cherry swirls.
Fresh cherry cheesecake bars
Modified from Cooking Light
1 cup all-purpose flour
3 Tbsp powdered sugar
1/8 tsp salt
5 Tbsp chilled butter, cut into small pieces
3 1/2 tsp ice water
½ – ¾ lb fresh cherries
1 Tbsp granulated sugar
1 Tbsp water
½ tsp cornstarch
6 ounces 1/3-less-fat cream cheese
1/3 cup fat-free plain Greek yogurt
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 large egg
Preheat oven to 350°. Line an 8-inch square glass or ceramic baking dish with parchment paper. Whisk together the flour, powdered sugar, and salt. Add chilled butter, and drizzle with ice water. Cut butter into flour with your fingers or a pastry cutter until mixture resembles coarse meal. Pour the mixture into prepared baking dish and press it into bottom of dish. Bake for 23 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool completely.
Preheat the oven to 325°. Pit and chop the cherries to get 1 ¼ cups. Place cherries, 1 tablespoon granulated sugar, and 1 tablespoon water in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 5 minutes or until cherries are tender. Juice lemon to get 2 teaspoons of juice. Combine lemon juice and cornstarch in a small bowl, stirring with a whisk. Stir cornstarch mixture into cherry mixture; cook for 1 minute or until thickened. Cool mixture slightly.
Meanwhile place cream cheese and remaining ingredients in food processor; process until smooth. Spoon cream cheese mixture over cooled crust; spread evenly. Spoon the cherry mixture into a mini food processor (or clean the larger food processor used for the cheesecake), and process until smooth. Dollop cherry mixture over cream cheese mixture, and swirl together with a knife. Bake for 36 minutes or until set. Cool on a wire rack. Cover and chill at least 3 hours.