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Poppyseed-lemon cheesecake with strawberry rhubarb compote and graham cracker streusel

Updated: Jul 18, 2022

Ingredients cheesecakes

  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar, plus more for coating the ramekins

  • 16 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature (2 packages)

  • 2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest

  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla bean paste or 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

  • 1 cup sour cream

  • 3 large eggs, at room temperature

  • 1 tablespoon poppy seeds


  • 1 pound rhubarb, cut into 1/2-inch dice

  • 1/2 cup sugar

  • 1/2 vanilla bean, split

  • Pinch of salt

  • 1 teaspoon finely grated orange zest

  • 1 teaspoon finely grated fresh ginger

  • 1 tablespoon St.-Germain liqueur or elderflower cordial

  • 1 pint strawberries


  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature

  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar

  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

  • 1 cup graham cracker crumbs (from 1 sleeve)

  • 1 teaspoon all-purpose flour

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

Directions make the cheesecakes

  • Preheat the oven to 325°. Spray eight 4- to 6-ounce ramekins with vegetable oil spray and dust with sugar; tap out the excess. Set the ramekins in a large roasting pan. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese and the 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons of sugar until smooth. Beat in the zest, lemon juice, vanilla and salt. Beat in the sour cream. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well between additions. Beat in the poppy seeds.

  • Divide the mixture between the ramekins and set the pan in the oven. Carefully add enough hot water to the pan to reach halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the cheesecakes are just set. Remove from the oven and let cool in the water bath for 1 hour. Refrigerate the cheesecakes until cooled completely, minimum 3 hours or over night..

meanwhile, make the compote

  • In a medium saucepan, let the rhubarb, sugar, vanilla bean and salt stand until slightly juicy, 20 minutes. Add the zest and ginger and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until the rhubarb is tender, about 15 minutes. Add the St.-Germain and raspberries and cook until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes. Transfer the compote to a bowl and let cool. Discard the vanilla bean.

make the streusel

  • Preheat the oven to 350°. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the butter, sugar and lemon juice until fluffy. Beat in the graham cracker crumbs, flour, salt and cinnamon. Scatter the streusel onto the baking sheet and freeze for 10 minutes.

  • Bake the streusel for about 20 minutes, until fragrant, golden and firm. Let cool completely, then crumble the streusel.

  • Run a thin knife around the cheesecakes and invert them onto plates. Spoon the compote on top and garnish with the streusel crumbs. Serve right away.

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