Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Blueberry Cheesecake

My pregnancy cravings have been pretty stereotypically comical: beer-battered oysters deep fried in lard, onigiri wrapped up in extra nori, so much fish sauce in everything, cucumber salad with all the dill and vinegar, mac and cheese. There was even a pickle incident in the first trimester.

And, of course, cheesecake. This one, a blueberry swirl cheesecake, is wonderfully custardy and makes an excellent second course at breakfast (after the eggs and oatmeal).

If I can, I like to use cream cheese and sour cream that are made from just cream & cultures. Most cream cheese is made from skim milk powder and cream held together with some sort of gum or thickener. Same for sour cream. If it's just cream, it will not only taste more delicious, but also be quite low in lactose, which matters for some of us. The gums and thickeners in cream cheese will also glue your cheesecake together, which isn't really a problem except that you lose the tender custardiness.

The key to getting nice swirls is to have the blueberry sauce fairly similar in consistency to the cheesecake batter. The first version I tried just gave me blueberry glob cheesecake, which I devoured with gusto.

Blueberry Cheesecake

Leave at room temperature to soften:
3 8-ounce packages of cream cheese

Prepare & bake one cheesecake crust in a 9" springform pan. Like this almond meal shortbread crust.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Zest and juice:
1 small lemon or half a large one

3 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons cornstarch

In a small saucepan, combine cornstarch mixture and
1.5 cups washed, sorted blueberries
1 tablespoon of the lemon juice

Bring to a simmer and cook, stirring, for a minute, until blueberry sauce is thickened and cornstarch becomes transparent. Set aside to cool.

2/3 cup sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch

Add to the cream cheese in a large mixing bowl and beat until well combined.

Stir in:
1 cup sour cream
lemon zest
2 teaspoons vanilla

One at a time, beat in
4 eggs

Pour batter into prepared crust. Drizzle with the blueberry sauce & make several strokes with a table knife to form swirls.

Place the springform pan on a rimmed cookie sheet and bake at 350 for 60 - 70 minutes, until the sides are puffed and the center has risen somewhat but isn't set. Turn off the oven and prop the door ajar for ten minutes. Remove to a cooling rack and run a knife around the edge. After an hour or so, continue cooling in the refrigerator. Serve when completely chilled and set up--the next day is the best bet.

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