Ube Cheesecake Bars With Sesame Cracker Crust From Abi Balingit

February 27, 2023
0 Ratings
Photo by Nico Schinco Copyright © 2023 by Abigail Balingit. Reprinted by permission of Harvest, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers.
  • Prep time 5 hours 15 minutes
  • Cook time 55 minutes
  • makes 6 bars
Author Notes

“In the early 2000s, Philadelphia Cream Cheese used to sell ready-made strawberry cheesecake bars at grocery stores. I was obsessed with them! Much to my chagrin, they were discontinued years ago. I haven’t stopped thinking about these snacks, and this recipe is an ode to them. Instead of sticking to the strawberry jam, I decided to adapt the flavors to match ube cheesecake cupcakes that I made for a Filipino pop-up in September 2020. They were such a hit (my boyfriend, Jason, still asks me to make them!) that I wanted to try my hand at making a revamped version here. By hollowing out the centers of the cheesecake bars, you have a clear runway for an ube halaya filling and you get a taste of the purple yam jam with every bite. The crust is composed of Gosomi crackers, Korean sweet and salty snacks with a strong sesame flavor. Paired with ube, they perfectly complement each other.”
*Note: If you can’t find Gosomi, you can use graham crackers as an alternative.

From Mayumu by Abi Balingit. Copyright ©2023 by Abigail Balingit. Reprinted by permission of Harvest, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers.

What You'll Need
  • Nonstick cooking spray
  • 1 1/4 cups Gosomi cracker crumbs (from 64 crackers, about 4 packs; see Note*)
  • 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar, divided
  • 4 tablespoons (½ stick) unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 (8-ounce) cream cheese blocks, softened and at room temperature
  • 3 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup sour cream, at room temperature
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup ube halaya, store-bought or homemade
  • 3/4 cup white chocolate chips
  • 1/2 tablespoon coconut oil
  1. Heat the oven to 325°F with a rack in the center of the oven. Line an 8×8-inch square pan with foil (you want enough overhang on all sides to be able to lift the dessert out with ease later). Lightly grease the surface with nonstick spray.
  2. Using a rubber spatula, mix together the cracker crumbs, ¼ cup of the sugar, and the butter in a medium bowl until well combined. Use the bottom of a cup to press the crumb mixture into the bottom of the pan in an even layer. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, or until lightly browned. Transfer to a wire rack to cool while you make the filling.
  3. Make the filling: Place the softened cream cheese and the remaining 1 cup sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat on medium-high speed for 1 minute. Reduce the speed to low and add the eggs one at a time, beating after each egg until it is fully incorporated into the batter. Scrape down the bottom and sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Add in the sour cream, salt, and vanilla and beat until just combined, 1 to 2 minutes.
  4. Pour the filling into the prepared crust. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, or until the center has a slight wobble but the edges are set. Turn off the oven, but leave the cheesecake in there for 18 to 20 minutes more with the oven door cracked open slightly. Transfer to a wire cooling rack to cool at room temperature for 30 minutes. Cover the cheesecake with plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for at least 4 hours, but preferably overnight.
  5. Once the cheesecake is done chilling, use the foil overhang to remove it from the pan. Divide into six equal rectangles. Using a melon baller, scoop out the centers of the cheesecake bars (be careful not to scrape into the crust). Set the innards aside and eat as a snack. Fill each hollow center with about 2 tablespoons of the ube halaya.
  6. Place the white chocolate chips and coconut oil in a small microwave-safe bowl. Microwave for 30-second intervals and mix between each round with a spoon until the chocolate has melted completely.
  7. Using a spoon, drizzle the surface of the bars with the melted chocolate. Let the chocolate harden before serving. Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.

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