Vanilla Bean Cheesecake with Rhubarb Compote

Recently, Facebook reminded me that I made a cheesecake with rhubarb compote last spring. A friend asked about the recipe, but I hadn’t been too impressed with the cheesecake. The rhubarb compote, on the other hand, was divine and made the mediocre cheesecake worth eating. I still had some frozen compote in my freezer, and I didn’t want to throw it away because it was that good. But at a year old, it had to go. Time to make more.

So, I went hunting for a new cheesecake recipe. I checked my Pinterest boards, but none of ones I’d pinned previously fit. They were flavors that didn’t match rhubarb (unless pumpkin cheesecake with rhubarb compote sounds appetizing to you), or they looked too fussy and specialized, like the copycat of a famous cheesecake recipe from New York whose flavors would compete with the rhubarb compote too much.

Then, I found a cheesecake recipe by one of my cooking heroes, Dorie Greenspan. She’s written 12 cookbooks, and every time I try one of her recipes, it’s fabulous. I knew that if Dorie Greenspan had a cheesecake recipe, then that would be one cheesecake worth making and slathering with rhubarb compote. Because I followed Dorie’s recipe exactly, I won’t be posting the recipe myself. I have a few notes, and the link to her recipe is below that.

A few notes on making the cheesecake:

  • I used 14 graham crackers and blended them into crumbs in my food processor.
  • I wanted flecks of vanilla bean in the cheesecake, so I scrapped the seeds out of a vanilla bean and stirred them into the sugar, until the seeds were incorporated fully and not in clumps. They added a pretty contrast to the white cheesecake.
  • Make sure you scrape your bowl down over and over while making the cheesecake batter. This really helps to ensure the batter is the same consistency and their arent’ any chunks of cream cheese left.
  • I used half sour cream and half heavy cream (2/3 cup each). I really liked the flavor this produced – the cheesecake was tangy without being too tart.

Check out Dorie Greenspan’s cheesecake recipe over at Serious Eats!

After I baked the cheesecake, and it was cooling the oven, I made the rhubarb compote. It’s thick, jammy, and so flavorful. I only use a little bit, because the flavors are intense.

Vanilla Bean Cheesecake with Rhubarb Compote

Rhubarb compote inspired by Saveur.

Rhubarb Compote


  • 1 lb. rhubarb (I used 3 long, thick stalks)
  • 3/4 c. brown sugar (white sugar will also work)
  • Zest of half a lemon
  • 1 T. lemon juice
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • Red food coloring (optional)


  1. Place an oven rack underneath the broiler, and turn on the broiler.
  2. Wash the rhubarb and slice it into 1/2inch segments. Place the segements on a parchment-paper-lined baking sheet and place in the oven.
  3. Broil the rhubarb until it's browning and charred, about 10 minutes, depending on your broiler. Be sure to check it and rotate it part way through. (My slices were thicker, so this process took longer for me. The thinner the rhubarb, the faster it will char.)
  4. When the rhubarb is charred, remove from the oven and place into a saucepan. Be careful, because the rhubarb is hot.
  5. Add the brown sugar, lemon zest, and vanilla. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring regularly, until the sauce reaches a thick, jammy consistency. Halfway through, stir in the lemon juice, and add any food coloring if you want to deepen the red color.
  6. The compote is good warm, at room temperature, or chilled. It will keep for several weeks in the fridge, and it also freezes well. Serve with cheesecake and other baked goods, or over dairy products like yogurt or ice cream. Enjoy!
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Vanilla Bean Cheesecake with Rhubarb Compote


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