Blueberry Compote-Crowned Cheesecake
When I’m up writing a blog post, editing or catching up on movies, the one thing that is always by my bedside is a slice of just warmed rich and sumptuous cheesecake.
The first bite of cheesecake for me – clichéd as it sounds – reminds me of my mother’s bread pudding. Our evenings and weekends in Dibba – when we weren’t going to the park, hurriedly heading to our favourite little beach near the mountains or visiting the fish market – were mostly spent at home with books, cartoons and board games, while digging into my mother’s freshly baked, burnt sugar cakes and bread puddings. Her little electric oven is still the most precious treasure ever, and I started out baking with it.
What I enjoy most about cheesecakes is that I get to enjoy them and adapt them depending on my mood.
Craving for a creamier and smooth-textured filling? Do a bain-marie. Love it a little firm to touch or a bit grainier, without losing that smoothness? Just give the heavy duty foil some rest. My top flavours for a cheesecake are the classic New York style and the blueberry cheesecake. Not too sweet, a bit tangy – perfect with a cup of strong coffee.
At times, cheesecakes have ended up as my lunch. I have also tried to make my cheesecakes a part of many an occasion with family and friends and now have some really warm memories that include cheesecake, loved ones and laughter. Those moments and the magical midnights together make me realise that true love exists.
Since it’s Valentine’s Day, here is one cheesecake which is really close to my heart – the blueberry compote crowned cheesecake. Try it out and melt anyone’s heart.
Blueberry compotecrowned cheesecake
130g crushed graham crackers/digestive biscuits
60g butter, melted
1 tbsp sugar
600g cream cheese, at room temperature
200g sour cream
150g sugar (If required, alter to taste)
3 large eggs plus one yolk, at room temperature
3 ½ tbsp corn starch (optional)
Grated zest of one lemon
Juice of half a lemon
1 tsp vanilla extract (1 ½ if essence)
280g fresh blueberries
1 tsp fresh lemon juice
11/2 tbsp cornstarch
1. Preheat oven to 180C
2. Grease or place parchment paper on your spring form pan.
3. Mix together the crushed crackers/biscuits, melted butter and sugar until well blended. Press this mix on to the bottom and sides of the pan firmly until it’s even.
4. Keep it to chill, or if you want the crust to be crispy, bake it for 10 minutes. Cool on a rack.
5. For the filling, beat cream cheese in a mixing bowl until creamy. Continue to beat while adding the sugar.
6. Switch to a wire whisk, which makes sure you don’t beat in much air, and add the eggs one at a time, whisking after each addition. Do not over beat – just make sure they are incorporated well.
7. Add cornstarch, if using. It helps stabilise the cheesecake and prevents cracks forming on the surface. The texture will be more cake-like rather than creamy.
8. Pour in sour cream, lemon zest, juice and vanilla extract. Mix until smooth.
9. Get the crust and brush the surface lightly with some egg white. Pour the filling over the crust and bake for 50 to 55 minutes, until the sides turn golden. The rim of the cheesecake will be firm to touch, and the centre will be wobbly.
10. Turn off oven, run a spatula around the edges and leave it in the oven to cool with the door ajar until completely set, for about 40 minutes. Cool it on a rack for 30 minutes before refrigerating.
1. Combine 140g of blueberries and other ingredients in a thick bottomed pan, place over medium heat and cook until sugar melts. Swirl at times to distribute juices. Bring to boil.
2. Add in the rest of the blueberries just before mixture thickens and turns syrupy. Cool to room temperature.
3. For a bain-marie/water bath: Wrap your pan in two layers of heavy duty aluminum foil to prevent any water from seeping into the cheesecake. Place pan into a larger pan that contains enough water (just boiled) to rise one inch up the sides of the spring form pan
INFO: Meris Cherian is founder and baker at Cheesecakeism, writing and taking orders at her blog www.cheesecakeism.blogspot.com