Lemon Cardamom Sandesh or Cheesecake Bars

Lemon Sandesh BarsToday is Bengali New Year, was thrilled to an acknowledgement from the White House, specifically from John Kerry, almost made me feel guilty about offering these cheater Sandesh bars for today. We as migrants love some popular acknowledgement, something that meshes us just a little with the mainstream, offers a little legitimacy. Dear readers, here is wishing everyone a Happy New Year and

Well, this love child of the Bengali Sandesh and cheesecake, blessed and baptized by lemon, is a super easy and truly delectable concoction put together by yours truly.

Who knew, a day would come when I would be creating my own baked goodies, especially this particular recipe found a lot of good favor with the kids, the teams and actually personally, I have tucked in quite a few. The sandesh like texture comes from the fact that I have used fresh channa or homemade paneer in this recipe.

Lemon Sandesh Bars

Now, the real deal here is that this recipe barring the paneer making actually gets done in a single bowl, specifically my food processor. If you want to simplify it further, while store bought paneer or chenna will not work, you can substitute this with ricotta cheese, now this substitution will offer a richer taste, but will also tone down the interesting texture that paneer affords this recipe.

lemon sandesh bars

Then again, I so totally understand, the time crunch component. I have spent almost a week, trying to get this post up. However, this time of the year, I always take a little time to pause, and see what I can do to refresh those new year ideas. In fact, just to make life more on the track course, I have got myself a fitbit, hoping that it will get me back to walking more in the neighborhood, something I have made less time for ever since I started working in the city. Well, if you want to try your hand at making home style paneer, here is a video by yours truly showing you how to do it.

Lemon Cardamom Sandesh or Cheesecake Bars

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 45 minutes

Yield: 25 to 30 rectangular squares

Serving Size: 1 square

A cheesecake like lemon bar, reminiscent of Bengali sandesh. It is ridiculously easy and a perfect treat by any name.


    For the bars
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup homemade paneer (aka channa) (using 1 gallon milk following the video above) or ricotta cheese
  • 3/4 cup sugar (you can add more if you want
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground cardamom
  • 11/2 teaspoons lemon zest (from 1 lemon)
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (1 large lemon)
  • 13/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • For the glaze and topping
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup sliced almonds or a mixture of almonds and pistachios


  1. Pre-heat the oven to 325 degrees. Grease the base of a square cake pan.
  2. Place the butter, paneer or ricotta cheese, sugar and eggs in the base of a food processor. Break in the eggs, the ground cardamom, lemon zest, lemon juice and the flour sifted in with the baking powder.
  3. Process for about 2 minutes, until everything is well mixed, do not over process.
  4. Pour into the cake tin and bake for about 25 to 30 minutes, until cooked (test with a toothpick), the sides should be pale golden. Do not overcook.
  5. Cool for about 5 minutes, remove from the oven and invert carefully.
  6. While the cake is cooking, make the syrup by adding the lemon juice, 1/2 cup water and sugar and cooking this down for 15 minutes to a sticky reduction. Pour this over the lemon bar square.
  7. Scatter with the almonds.
  8. Let it cool for at least 1 or 2 hours and cut into squares and serve.


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