Enterprise

Condley: Blueberry Cheesecake – Harlan Enterprise

BY SARAH CONDLEY

Journalist

Our blueberry bushes are still producing lots of blueberries this year and I found a new way to use them – in cheesecake. I found today’s recipe while searching The Pioneer Woman’s website (it was written by Erin Merhar) for blueberry recipes; this one looked delicious so I decided to give it a try because, well, I had all the ingredients on hand.

I followed the recipe directions exactly, wrapping the springform pan in foil, then prepping the crust, baking it, and letting it cool completely.

While the crust baked and cooled, I prepared the filling. The cream cheese was soft and I beat it with my stand mixer until creamy, then added the sour cream, sugar, flour and salt. Once smooth, and after scraping the sides of the mixer bowl, I added the eggs one at a time, without putting any eggshell in the batter. Again, scraping down the sides and bottom of the bowl with a spatula, I poured in the vanilla, lemon juice and lemon zest and turned on the blender one last time. I folded the lovely sweet blueberries into the batter, then poured the filling into the springform pan. There was so much batter in the pan that I was afraid it would overflow while

baking and wondered if I should have used a larger springform pan.

Before starting the whole process, I had found a roasting pan just big enough to hold the springform pan. I placed the foil-wrapped and batter-filled pan in the larger pan, then slipped them into the oven. I had forgotten to heat some water so I quickly added water to my kettle and in no time the water was hot and pouring it into the roasting pan which was in the oven.

You bake the cheesecake in a double boiler to keep the cheesecake moist and prevent the top from cracking. Now, when I make a plain cheesecake, I never bake it in a double boiler, probably because I’m lazy and don’t care if the top cracks. But I decided to follow this recipe to the “T” in the hope that it would be perfect.

Halfway through the baking process I checked the cheesecake and saw the batter was rising and just crossed my fingers hoping the thing didn’t boil over. After an hour and a half, the cheesecake came out of the oven and even though it had risen, it didn’t boil over. I also noticed that almost all the water had evaporated from the roasting pan. I carefully removed the cheesecake from the roasting pan and removed the foil from the pan. The cheesecake sat on the cooling rack until it cooled, then I put it in the fridge.

I had started baking the cheesecake early in the morning so that we would have it for our evening dessert. And after placing the cheesecake in the fridge, I made the blueberry filling on the stovetop. The filling cooked for about 30 minutes before thickening; maybe because the blueberries from the garden are so juicy. Once the filling had cooled down a bit, I placed it in the fridge.

After dinner, Brad looked at me and said “ready for dessert?” I cleared our plates from the table and took the cheesecake and blueberry filling out of the fridge.

Instead of pouring the filling all over the top of the cheesecake, we decided to just pour some over our individual pieces.

Brad cut the first slice for himself and before I could have a piece of cheesecake and sauce on my plate Brad gave it a try and the first words that came out of his mouth were “this is really good “. After a few bites, I had to agree. This cheesecake was delicious but I want you to know that we didn’t eat it all by ourselves. We shared a few bits and sauce with my mom and brother; they both agreed that this recipe worked. We also shared with our neighbor, Mr. Wells.

This cheesecake wasn’t as dense as I usually make, but I really liked it, especially with the blueberry filling; which would be good on other things too, like pancakes, waffles, cookies or ice cream – just to name a few. And the double boiler did the trick because the top of the cheesecake didn’t crack while baking.

This recipe is heading to my homemade cookbook. I might have to make another one before blueberry season ends, but I need to make sure we have company when I do so I don’t eat it all.

Recipe

Crust

• 2 cups graham cracker crumbs

• 1/2 cup salted butter, melted

• 2 tablespoons of granulated sugar

Filling

• 4 8-ounce packages of cream cheese, at room temperature

• 1/2 cup sour cream

• 1 1/4 cup granulated sugar

• 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

• 1/2 teaspoon of salt

• 4 large eggs, room temperature

• 1 tablespoon of vanilla extract

• 1 tablespoon of lemon juice

• 2 teaspoons of lemon zest

• 1 cup blueberries

Trim

• 3 cups of blueberries

• 1/4 cup granulated sugar

• 1 tablespoon of lemon juice

• Pinch of salt

Cooking instructions

• For the crust: Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Wrap heavy-duty foil around the bottom and sides of a 9-inch springform pan. Lightly spray inside of skillet with nonstick cooking spray.

In a medium bowl, combine graham cracker crumbs, butter and sugar. Press into bottom and 1 inch up sides of springform pan. Bake until golden brown, 10-12 minutes. Cool completely on wire rack, about 30 minutes.

• For the filling: Beat the cream cheese on medium speed until there are no more lumps in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, about 2 minutes. Add sour cream, sugar, flour and salt. Beat until batter is smooth and creamy, about 1 minute. Scrape sides and bottom of bowl. Add the eggs one at a time and beat on low speed until just combined after each addition. Continue scraping the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed. Stir in vanilla, lemon juice and zest.

• Stir in blueberries.

• Pour the filling into the springform pan and place it in a large roasting pan. Place both pans in the oven and quickly pour hot water into the roasting pan so that it comes halfway up the foil-wrapped springform pan.

• Bake 1 hour 20 to 1 hour 30 minutes or until cheesecake is set on sides and barely jiggles in center when pan is shaken. Turn off the oven and break the door. Leave the cheesecake in the oven for 15 minutes.

• Remove the cheesecake from the water bath and carefully remove the foil. Transfer to a wire rack.

• Let cheesecake continue to cool to room temperature, about 2 hours. Place in the refrigerator for at least 8 hours to cool completely.

• For the filling: Combine blueberries, sugar, lemon juice and salt in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Cook, stirring often, until some blueberries start to break down and the sauce thickens, 12 to 15 minutes. Remove from fire. Cool to room temperature, about 1 hour. Cover and refrigerate until use.

• To serve: Run a thin knife along edge of pan before removing sides of pan. Top cheesecake with blueberry mixture just before serving.