Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Blueberry Cheesecake - Not As Hard As You Think

Ahhhh.....the blueberry cheesecake. First of all, I love all things blueberry: muffins, pies, tarts, shortbreads, cobblers, etc. And my favorite cake is of course, cheesecake. Combine them both and I'm in sweet heaven! When you hear cheesecake, you just can't help but think that it is a daunting task to take on. I mean, how can something that tastes so good be easy to make, right? Well, I'm here to refute that notion. It is not only easy, it costs less than $10 in ingredients to make a 9-inch cake.
Let's start with all the ingredients:

For the cheesecake:
1 1/2 lb. Philadelphia brand cream cheese
3 large eggs
1 can sweetened condensed milk
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1 bag Oreo cookies
2 tablespoons unsalted butter

For the blueberry puree:
1 bag frozen blueberries
5 tablespoons sugar
3 cups water
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

In addition, you'll also need a Kitchenaid mixer and a 9-inch springform baking pan.

If you are looking to just make a plain cheesecake, you can skip this step.
Start by heating up all the ingredients to make the puree in a small pot. The amount of puree resulting from this should be more than enough for the cheesecake. You can probably set aside half of it for future use. Bring the ingredients to a boil and turn it down to a simmer. Let it continue cooking until the blueberries are very soft and the liquid becomes thick. At this point, you can either puree it in a food processor to make it smooth or leave the blueberries in little chunks. I prefer the latter. Cool it down to room temperature.

Now for the cheesecake. Hand-crush the whole bag of Oreo cookies into the mixer and crumble them thoroughly. At the end of the crushing cycle, add the softened butter and incorporate it into the Oreo crumbles. Pan-spray the bottom of the springform pan and with your palm, press the Oreo crumble down to make a dense layer of crust. Bake the crust in the oven at 325°F for 10 minutes.

While the crust is baking, let's start making the main attraction, the cheesecake. Put the cream cheese (keep it cold) and sweetened condensed milk into the mixer and start it at a slow speed and then gradually go up one speed. Add the eggs, one at a time plus the lemon juice. Let the mixer beat the ingredients until it becomes light and fluffy, about 8 minutes on medium speed. When done, pan-spray the side of the pan and add the cheesecake filling into the pan. At this point you can add the blueberry puree. Bake at 300°F for 55 minutes. Check in at 45 minutes to make sure that the cake is not cracking or already overcooked. Use a toothpick and insert it into the cake and if it is done, the toothpick should come out clean.

And that's it. Pretty straightforward, isn't it? Enjoy baking while I get back to enjoying the last piece of cake!

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