Blueberries are abundant right now and should be through August. I only have one blueberry bush, but it’s producing quite nicely and I hope to have several more next year, now that I have an incredible compound for my garden.
While I like to eat them plain, there are many blueberry recipes. My friend Tony recently asked what to do with all the berries he had on hand. He and his children were planning a brunch for Holly and his mom on Mother’s Day. My list went on from blueberry pancakes or coffeecakes to blueberry scones.
Now, with Father’s Day this Sunday, I thought a blueberry cheesecake would be appropriate. What man doesn’t like cheesecake?
I haven’t made this for years, but the last time I did, it was a huge success. I made a test cake just the other day and the three taste testers said it was great. I’ve altered the recipe just a little, using an almond crust (for gluten-free folks). I love almonds. Steve, one of my testers, said the almond crust gave it an extra special taste.
To make it even that much more special, you could pick your own blueberries. There are two local, u-pick-the-berries farms that I know of, in southern Fauquier. One is Willow Oaks Berry Farm in Midland and the other is Berry Simple Farm in Bealeton. If you’re not up to picking them yourself, I’m sure you can buy them at one of the local produce or farmers’ markets.
This recipe takes time, so it’s better to make it early in the morning or better yet, a day in advance, because the cake needs a lot of time to cool and then chill thoroughly.
3 cups of almonds
½ cup of sugar
¼ cup of butter (melted)
2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
1 vanilla bean, spit lengthwise
1/3 cup of heavy cream
3 8-ounce packages of cream cheese, at room temperature
1 cup of sugar
½ cup of sour cream
4 large eggs, or 8 small eggs (I had just been given 17 fresh, small eggs.)
12 ounces of fresh blueberries
1 tablespoon of cornstarch
2 tablespoons of sugar
1 cup of sour cream
¼ cup of sugar
2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
Extra berries for decoration
Preheat the oven to 350°. In a food processor, finely grind the almonds and sugar. Once ground, add the vanilla and butter. In a 10-inch, spring-form pan, press the almond mixture on the bottom and up the sides. Bake the crust 10 to 15 minutes until the crust is lightly golden. Place on a rack and cool.
For the filling pour the cream into a small saucepan. Split the vanilla bean down the center and scrape the seeds into the cream. Bring the cream, bean and seeds to a boil just for a minute, and then let cool completely. To cool at a faster pace, place the saucepan into a bowl of ice water.
While the cream is cooling, place the cream cheese and sugar in a mixing bowl and beat until smooth. Add the vanilla, sour cream, cooled cream mixture (bean discarded) and beat until well blended. One at a time beat in each egg. (I happened to have small fresh farm eggs on hand and used eight.)
In a separate bowl sift cornstarch over the berries. Cover them completely. (I once read that the cornstarch keeps the berries from sinking.) Gently fold the berries into the batter and pour the batter into the crust. Bake until the cake until it is a golden color for about an hour. Cracks will form around the edges, and it will jiggle just a little in the center when the pan is moved, but that’s normal. Remove from the oven and let cool for 15 minutes or so. The cheesecake will fall some.
Blend the ingredients for the topping and spoon evenly over the cake. Put the cake back in the oven for another 10 minutes. Cool the cake on a rack to room temperature (an hour maybe) and then refrigerate for at least six hours, but it would be better if overnight. Just before serving you can decorate the cake with some extra berries or drizzle with blueberry sauce.