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Blueberry Cheesecake

Blueberry Cheesecake A creamy light Cheesecake with a lemony blueberry glaze is delicious any time of year!  The filling of this luscious cake isn’t baked, so the size of your springform pan isn’t very important.  Any pan from 8 to 10 inches across will work well enough.  The size, however, will affect how long your crust is baked:  10 to 15 minutes should be enough to bake this crust in an 8, 9, or 10 inch pan.

Shortbread Crust:

¼ cup ground almonds or flaked coconut

¾ cup all-purpose flour

1/3 cup butter, cold

¼ cup sugar, scant

Method:

Mix dry ingredients, then cut in cubed butter to resemble coarse meal.  Press into bottom of parchment-lined pan and bake at 350° F for 10-15 minutes, depending on the size of pan you’ve used.  Allow crust to cool on a wire rack.

If you have wafer crumbs and want to save a few minutes, you can make a crumb crust instead.  Crumb crusts are very popular because they are delicious but quick and simple to prepare.  However, if you’re the sort of person who reads the ingredients label, you may prefer to make a crust from scratch.  It doesn’t really take much longer to do this—it’s just a matter of cutting in the butter, really.

The ingredients label of wafer crumbs or cookies typically has a few long, hard-to-pronounce words at the end.  These are preservatives that prolong the shelf life of the product, which can be found boxed in supermarkets or loose in bulk food stores.  If you keep your wafer crumbs in an air-tight jar in the cupboard, years may go by with no noticeable difference in the flavor or texture of the crumbs.

You can easily remove this cake from the pan if you line the bottom with parchment, cut just slightly larger than the pan bottom.  You can also cut a strip of parchment a bit large than the sides of the pan to hold your glaze in place until it sets and to allow easy release once the filling is chilled.

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Filling:

1 package cream cheese (8 oz.), softened

1 cup buttermilk, 1% milk fat

½ cup sugar

1 dash salt

1 cup whipping cream or heavy cream

¼ cup liqueur or juice

1 envelope plain gelatin

In a small saucepan, sprinkle gelatin over liqueur or juice and allow to soften.  Add a small amount of water if necessary.  Heat on low, stirring until gelatin is completely dissolved.

On medium speed, mix cream cheese with sugar and salt, then slowly add buttermilk and gelatin mixture.  Pour into a clean bowl and chill just until the mixture begins to set.

In a clean chilled bowl, whip the cream until soft peaks form.  Then slowly and gently fold in the gelatin mixture.  Pour into prepared pan, then chill in refrigerator.

Blueberry Glaze:

½ cup blueberries, fresh or frozen

½ cup water, scant

¼ cup lemon juice (1 large lemon)

2 tbls lemon zest (from 1 lemon)

¼ cup sugar

1 tbls cornstarch, slightly mounded

In a small saucepan, mix sugar and cornstarch.  Add water and stir to dissolve.  Over medium heat, bring to a boil and add juice, zest, and berries.  Crush the berries into the mixture, then stir until the liquid thickens and clears, about 2 minutes.  Remove from heat and allow to cool until just warm, then pour over chilled filling.

Chill thoroughly in the refrigerator.  Once glaze has cooled completely, cover with plastic film and seal in a cake container or large freezer bag (15”) for a few hours or over night.  Remove from pan before serving and slice with a sharp knife.  A marble lazy Susan is perfect for presentation at the table and will help to keep the cake chilled.

The buttermilk is barely detectable in this cheesecake, but lends a pleasant tartness that brings out the flavor of the blueberries.  Typically cheesecake recipes will call for sour cream, but buttermilk gives just the right thickness to this airy cake filling.  In addition, buttermilk contains a wealth of nutrients and very little fat:  1% m.f. buttermilk should be easy to find in the supermarket.

Guests will enjoy the texture of this cake without ever guessing that it contains buttermilk.  They will also find the crust easy to manage with a fork, unlike a crumb crust.  Crumb crusts are typically either crumbly or hard; when hard, they sometimes leave the plate and fly across the table, evoking comments intended to imply that the crust is at fault and not that the guest is clumsy!

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