One of my favorite ways to come up with a fresh take on a classic dish is to go through my fridge and pantry with the notion that I will only use the ingredients I have on hand. In a way, I give myself a challenge like those contestants on Food Network’s Chopped! The day I came up with these gorgeous creamy Cheesecake bars I was out of butter sticks, flour, graham crackers, and so much more. What I did have was a bunch of ingredients leftover from my last trip to Whole Foods. This included a half bag of pistachios, Chocolate sandwich cookies, and whole lot of cream cheese.
Cheesecake is such a classic dessert that you can change up in hundreds of ways. It’s a common dessert found at holiday gatherings, so I wanted to get this post up in time for yours. The combination of chocolate, blueberries, and pistachios is certainly a holiday worthy combination that will have your guests taking wide eyed bites of glee!
This a 3 step recipe. You will have your crust, your filling, and then your blueberry topping. All of these are so simple and quick, and this is the ultimate make-ahead dessert, as it actually tastes better the next day. With how hectic planning and cooking gets when putting on a feast, this will save you so much time the day of your actual meal.
Let’s get baking!
The first step of this recipe is making your crust.
You will need a cup of shelled pistachios and a cup of chocolate wafer cookies or chocolate graham crackers. When using chocolate cookies that have filling, make sure to thoroughly scrape the filling of each cookie. You only need about 12 cookies (24 individual wafers) for this, so it’s a fast process. Shelling pistachios on the other hand, well, it’s not as fast! Luckily, I had my two helpers who thought pulling apart these nuts was one of the best new projects ever!
We gathered a full cup.
Which we then roasted for about 8 minutes until they released that nutty aroma. Look how vibrant these are!
Once the nuts were ready we put them and the cup of chocolate wafers into our blender and Bea got them ground down to almost a powder. She loved this part the most!
When it is finely ground it will look like this.
As you can see, the wafers are almost a powder while the pistachios are coarsely ground, which will give you a slight crunchy texture in each bite. This crunch really compliments the creamy filling and sticky topping perfectly.
Then you will add in your sugar and melted butter. As I mentioned earlier, I was out of sticks of butter from all the baking I have been doing lately! What I did have was 3 tablespoons worth of Kerrygold soft and spreadable butter. I used this, and it worked just like 3 tablespoons of a butter stick would. Mix this all together then pat into the bottom and slightly up the sides of either a pie dish or a square baking dish.
This will bake for about 10-12 minutes. Then let it cool for a few minutes while you make your filling.
The Cream Cheese Filling:
I goofed and forgot to take photos of the filling making process. It was so fast and that’s why! You whip your softened cream cheese, sugar, sour cream, and vanilla extract. Then add in your eggs and whip it up until creamy. Then pour it onto the crust.
The important baking process of cheesecake involves a water bath and a low oven temperature. This will ensure that creamy filling that will not over-dry or crack. You will turn your oven from the 375 degrees you used to bake your crust to 300 degrees. This takes about 45-50 minutes to slowly bake.
It is cooked when there’s a slight jiggle to it. This will set over the cooling process. Remove from the oven and water bath.
This needs to cool a minimum of 6 hours, but overnight is what I prefer.
I did my duty and tasted this for you before topping it with the sticky and sweet blueberry compote! It was truly divine. So creamy, dreamy, whipped, with that slightly crunchy and nutty crust.
The Blueberry Topping:
This blueberry topping takes about 5 minutes of boiling frozen blueberries, sugar, lemon juice, and a bit of vanilla extract. Once it cools just spread it all over your cheesecake.
I’m ready to take a cheesecake break! Look how that compote drips into the rest of the bar. These bars have different flavors and textures in each forkful that meld together for the most glorious bite!
Cheesecake Bars with Pistachio Chocolate Crust and Blueberry Topping
- 1 cup of Chocolate wafer cookies or chocolate grahams
- 1 cup of shelled and roasted pistachios
- 3 tablespoons melted butter
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 2 packages of softened 8 oz. cream cheese
- 2/3 cup granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 2/3 cup full fat sour cream
- 2 eggs, room temperature
- 12 oz. frozen blueberries
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees. For crust- shell and roast 1 cup of pistachios. To roast, put pistachios on a single layer of a cookie sheet. Bake for about 8 minutes. In a blender, food processer, or Ninja, grind your nuts and wafers. The wafers will be powder like while the nuts will be a coarse grind. Add sugar and melted butter. Mix then press down into your pie dish or square baking pan. Bake for 10-12 minutes. Allow to cool while making your filling.
- Filling- use a hand mixer or stand mixer with paddle attachment. Whip your cream cheese. Then add sour cream and vanilla extract and salt. Whip again. Then add your eggs and mix until creamy and no lumps remain. Pour over crust and bake in water bath. Turn oven down from 375 to 300 degrees as you put the dish into the oven. Do not open the oven! Allow to slowly cook for 45-50 minutes, until there is a slight jiggle in center of cheesecake. Then remove from oven and water bath. Refrigerate for 6 hours or overnight.
- Topping- Put frozen blueberries, sugar, cornstarch, and lemon juice in a heavy bottom pan. Let it come to a low boil for 5 minutes until thick and sticky. Remove from heat and add vanilla extract. Let cool then cover cheesecake.
Cheesecake is so versatile. Feel free to get creative! Change out blueberries for cherries, which also go beautifully with Pistachios and chocolate.
As always, if you have any questions, Contact me!