Take a look at the cover of the August 2008 Gourmet Magazine...it's a picture of what this dessert is supposed to look like...notice those beautiful blue berries? That's right...BLUEBERRIES?!? Well, that's what I SAW when I looked at this picture - without glasses - blueberries...not blackberries! The recipe in the mag is cheesecake with minted blackberries...something I didn't notice until I was half way through the recipe...so here's my baking tip of the day/year/century...do as I say, not as I do...read the entire recipe all the way through - with your glasses on - before you begin!
Here's another tip for you...do not talk on the phone while your crust is baking in the oven...oh sure, a few minutes longer won't make that much difference - it will still taste good, it's just that instead of being tender enough for your fork to slide through you'll need to use a steak knife to cut it...then chewing the crust is no longer a pleasurable experience as much as it is exercise - and if there's two things that just don't mix it's exercise and dessert!
Since I only had blueberries I used them, along with an old no-fail recipe I have for a blueberry topping. So I was thinking that I was home free....NOT! In Gourmet's directions it says to remove the cheesecake from the oven while the center is still wobbly - it said it would set as it cooled....NOT! Well, at least not in the amount of time it said - and not in the amount of time I had before I needed to serve it! The next day, however, the cheesecake looked much more like the picture on the cover...but it required at least 10 hours of refrigeration to get there. Don't let this stop you from making this dessert....the cheesecake is wonderful and the crust, if not overcooked, is worth is - and even overcooked it's worth it - it tastes like a really good cookie!
Some of this dessert made it over to a friends house - the one I was talking on the phone with while making it...just to let her know that the next time she called and I said I was baking she was to tell me to hang up and call back or she was to hang up on me. They loved it. For those of you wondering how I can heat up my oven in the middle of summer...I just wanted to show you that summer has taken a slight vacation around here - the temp was 60 degrees.
Cheesecake with Blueberries - Adapted from Gourmet Magazine, August 2008
3/4 stick unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup blanched almonds, finely chopped
3 (8 oz.) packages cream cheese, softened
2/3 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons flour
1/4 cup half-and-half
3 large eggs
1/2 cup dried Blueberries (I used Mariani Wild Blueberries)
1/4 cup orange juice
2 cups fresh blueberries
Make crust: Preheat oven to 350 degrees with rack in middle position. Line a 9-inch square baking dish with 2 crisscrossed sheets of foil, leaving an overhang on 2 sides, then lightly butter foil. Beat together butter and brown sugar with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Reduce speed to low and add flour and almonds, mixing until combined and dough begins to clump together. Press onto bottom of baking pan with floured fingers. Bake just until a shade darker and edges begin to pull away from pan, about 20 to 25 minutes. Set aside to cool completely.
Make Filling: Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees. Beat together cream cheese, sugar, and flour with cleaned beaters at medium speed until smooth, 1 to 2 minutes. Reduce speed to low and add half-and-half, then eggs 1 at a time, mixing until incorporated. Pour filling into crust. Bake in a hot water bath. (Put baking dish inside a 9 x 13-inch baking dish and pour boiling water halfway up the sides of the baking dish. Carefully set in oven.) Bake for 45 to 50 minutes or until center is almost firm, but not wobbly. (The original recipe calls for the cheesecake to be removed from the oven when it feels firm 1 1/2-inches in from the edge...let it bake a little longer, you'll be happier.) Transfer pan to a rack to cool completely, about 2 hours. Chill, uncovered at least 2 more hours.
Topping: Mix all ingredients in a small saucepan and bring to boil. Boil for 5 minutes or until most of the liquid has gone. Remove from heat and let cool completely.
To assemble cheesecake: Using foil overhang, lift cheesecake from pan and peel off foil before cutting into small rectangles. Place a scoop of the blueberry mixture on top of each piece of cheesecake.