I do pride myself on coming up with the most imaginative flavor combinations I can in the kitchen. I love to dream, fantasize, and envision the amalgamation of flavors never dreamed before to be united.
This time, however, I owe the stargazing credit and prideful concoction to another being of brilliance in both the kitchen and behind the counter.
Molly Yeh, in all her genius, thought up and originally created this plate of cheesecake bar brilliance.
I, of course, have adapted, tweaked, added, and subtracted to make it my own ~ but I shall pass along the credit when it is certainly due. Thank you, Molly.
Sweet and Savory Havarti Cheesecake Bars
18 large rectangles (36 squares) graham crackers
pinch of kosher salt
10 Tbs. butter, melted
2 Tb. flour
2/3 cup sugar
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
6 oz. havarti cheese, shredded
zest and juice of 1/2 lemon
15 oz. whole milk ricotta
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 Tbs. fresh thyme leaves
1 Tbs. fresh rosemary, minced
2 large eggs
honey for drizzling and fresh thyme for garnish
Preheat oven to 375. Line an 8″ square pan with parchment and set aside.
In a food processor, pulse the graham crackers into a coarse crumb. Season with salt and pour in melted butter. Pulse one or two more times until everything is incorporated. Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and press it down firmly and evenly. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Add the flour, sugar, salt, havarti, and lemon zest to the same food processor bowl and pulse it a few times to combine everything and break up the havarti. Add the ricotta, lemon juice, vanilla, and fresh herbs, and process it until smooth. Next, with the processor running, add the eggs one at a time, processing a bit after each one.
Pour the mixture a top the refrigerated crust and bake for 30 minutes, until the outer edges are set but the center is still a little wobbly. Turn the oven off, crack the oven door, and allow the cheesecake to rest in the half open oven for about 45 minutes. Remove from the oven and let completely at room temperature. Cover and chill for an hour or two, or overnight.
Cut into bars. drizzle with honey and sprinkle with fresh thyme and enjoy!