Here in El Paso, summer does not creep up on us–it pounces. The gusty spring days, random hailstorms and chilly high desert sunsets suddenly open up into that first morning walk which for me marks the beginning of summer. When I wake up and take the dog out first thing in the morning and it’s already 93 degrees: that’s it, summer has arrived.
These sliced cheesecake bars are rich but refreshing, packed with citrusy, bright and floral flavors from tangerine zest, halved apricots, and vanilla bean paste. Be sure to bring them to a summer barbecue, or at the very least, in to work to share–otherwise you may eat them all yourself! As of this morning, I can also attest that they make a deliciously indulgent breakfast.
Apricot Tangerine Cheesecake Slices
- 2 cups graham cracker crumbs
- 3/4 cup and 2 tbsp sugar, divided
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 6 tbsp melted butter
- 6 fresh apricots, cut in half, pit removed
- 2/3 cup apricot jam or preserves
- 1 tbsp juice and 1 tbsp zest of one tangerine
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract or 1/2 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
- 4 x 8oz packages cream cheese, room temperature
- 4 eggs
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line a 9×13 rectangular pan with parchment paper.
- In a bowl, combine the graham cracker crumbs, cinnamon, 2 tbsp sugar and all the butter. Press evenly into the pan and bake for 10 minutes.
- Beat together the cream cheese, tangerine zest and juice, vanilla and sugar. Add eggs one at a time, allowing each to combine before adding the next. Pour into crust.
- Gently drizzle then swirl the apricot jam on top of the batter, and scatter halved apricots cut side up.
- Bake for 35 minutes or until the edges are just barely light gold and the cheesecake has a gentle wobble in the center. Cool for 30 minutes, then chill for at least 4 hours.
Before slicing into bars, I like to brush the cheesecake with some additional apricot jam and fresh tangerine zest for added shine and more fresh citrus flavor.