On Saturday a dear friend of mine (Hi Cookie!) came over for lunch/the day. We ate lunch, talked, played Scene It Harry Potter and just generally enjoyed spending time with one another! Earlier in the week I had e-mailed Cookie and asked if she liked blueberries as I had a bunch of blueberries in the freezer that I froze when they were in season and I’ve been wanting to make something with them ever since! It turns out Cookie likes blueberries too so we were in business!
So now I knew we were dealing with blueberries, but what to make? I could have made some sort of blueberry pie or blueberry cobbler or something with a blue berry sauce or a cake or blueberry muffins or even one my all time favorites Blueberry Ice Cream! But I’ve done all those already…I wanted something new…Something different! But what?
Then it hit me…Cheesecake! Yes I had already made a cheesecake for our dinner guests earlier in the week, but I had always wanted to see if you could make a cheesecake with actual blueberries in the cake and not just as a topping and this was the perfect chance! And I must say I really loved how this turned out! The flavor was really fabulous and the color was just marvelous! Topped with a little whipped cream this was the perfect, cool, creamy, summery dessert!
Now if you’ll excuse me I think I need to go get myself upon the treadmill and/or elliptical machine! ;oP
What You’ll Need for the Crust:
1 sleeve graham crackers
1/4 cup sugar
1 stick of butter, melted
(Note: I like to leave my graham crackers a bit chunky instead of processing them to complete crumbs, but which ever version you prefer will work fine.)
Crush graham crackers and place in a medium sized bowl. Add sugar and stir to mix. Pour in melted butter and stir until it all comes together. Press into a 9-inch spring form pan that has been generously sprayed with non-stick spray. Set aside.
Note: As I’ve mentioned before in terms of cheesecake the most important part of making a cheesecake is making sure that you preheat your oven first! Preheat your oven to 325 F and don’t try to skip this step. It’s essential! Do NOT skip the preheat stage!
What You’ll Need for the Blueberry Portion:
2 cups of blueberries (Note: I used some I had frozen earlier this summer)
The zest of 1 lemon
The juice of 1 lemon
2 tablespoons of organic cane sugar
In a medium sized pot add blueberries, lemon zest, lemon juice and sugar and cook over medium heat stirring often until blueberries form sauce and become soft. This takes roughly 3-8 minutes depending on the heat.
Remove from heat and set aside and let cool to at least lukewarm or cool completely.
What You’ll Need for the Cheesecake:
Blueberries as prepared above
4 – 8 ounce packages of cream cheese, softened (Note: I used regular cream cheese, but I’ve used low-fat and fat free in the past when making cheesecake and they both have worked.)
1 cup ricotta (Note: I used part skim this time because the store was out of fat free, but any variety will work.)
1 cup of organic cane sugar
1 cup of unbleached all purpose flour
As I mentioned above preheat your oven to 325 F.
In the bowl of your mixer cream together cream cheese, eggs, ricotta and sugar until completely smooth. Add cooked blueberry mixture and mix until the blueberries are completely incorporated into the batter. You may need to scrape down the bowl several times. Add flour and mix until just incorporated. The batter will be a lovely purple color:
I mean how gorgeous is that color??
Pour batter into the pan with the crust and spread it out evenly. Tap the pan on the counter a few times to make sure there are no air pockets. Wrap the bottom of the pan in aluminum foil and place the pan into a baking dish. Pour warm water into the dish until it comes at least half of the way up the side of the pan. (Note: The aluminum foil keeps the water from ruining the cheesecake, while allowing you to bake it in a water bath.)
Bake for 1 hour.
At the end of 1 hour turn the oven off, but leave the cheesecake where it is. Open the oven door to the broil position and let the cheesecake sit in the turned off oven for an additional hour. Once that hour is over remove from oven and place in the fridge. You want to chill the cheesecake for at least 8 hours. Overnight is best.
Once the cheesecake has cooled completely, just before serving, remove the outer ring of the springform pan, slice and serve.
Trust me if you’re a blueberry lover you are going to LOVE this one!
Notes: I’m going to go out on a limb here and say if this worked for blueberries, any berry would work with this same method. Or perhaps peaches…Oh my…I may just have to make that one day! 😉