Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Blueberry Raspberry Cheesecake

 For a wedding present for some friends, I gave them a certificate to the "Cheesecake of the Month" club.  Every month I make them cheesecake.  I love making cheesecakes.  It is cathartic for me.  Many people complain that it is too difficult, but it really isn't.  I find it quite enjoyable.

For a while now, I have wanted to blog about a cheesecake I have made so that you can follow the directions in order to make your own.  This last one I made was my own creation of a patriotic cheesecake made with blueberry and raspberry jam.  It wasn't quite as red, white, and blue as I would have liked.  Food coloring would probably need to be added if you wanted a bright blue and red.

Anyway, here is the recipe and a description of the process including pictures.

1 cup crushed Nilla wafers
1/4 cup melted butter
3 8-ounce blocks of cream cheese, softened
1 cup sugar
3 eggs
1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1/3 cup blueberry preserves
1/3 cup seedless raspberry jam
3 tablespoons flour, divided

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Crush Nilla wafers to equal one cup and mix with the melted butter in a bowl.  Press cookie crumbs into bottom of a 9" springform pan and bake for 10 minutes at 350 degrees F.  Remove from oven.

In a large mixer bowl, put in your 3 softened blocks of cream cheese.  Most recipes will say mix cream cheese and sugar together, but I like to smooth the cream cheese first before I add the sugar.

So, then add the sugar and mix until smooth.  It'll look like the above picture.  Now, it's time to add the eggs. I crack them one at a time and place them into a clear glass bowl, just to be sure I don't have any shells.  I then add the eggs one at a time to the cream cheese, mixing each egg in before adding the next egg.

Now, add the 1-1/2 teaspoons of vanilla.  Mix until combined.  Be sure to scrape the extra cream cheese off the sides so it all gets incorporated and give it a last spin or two to mix it up.

Now, separate the mixture into thirds (roughly 1-1/2 cups each), placing each third into a separate bowl (you can leave one third in the mixer bowl).

Take 1/3 cup blueberry preserves and mix it in a smaller bowl with 1-1/2 tablespoons flour.  Do the same with the 1/3 cup raspberry preserves.  

Add each fruit mixture to one third of the cream cheese and stir well.  At this point, if you wanted brighter blue and red, add blue food coloring to the blueberry and red food coloring to the raspberry.

Pour the blueberry/cream cheese mixture on top of the cookie crust.  The next layer will be the plain cream cheese mixture.  Slowly and gently drop dollops on top of blueberry mixture.  When you've used all of the plain mixture, very slowly and gently spread it around, being careful to not mix it with the blueberry.  Repeat this process with the raspberry layer.

Now, put your cheesecake in the oven at 350 degrees F (the oven should still be on) for one hour.  You know your cheesecake is done when the center of it still jiggles slightly.  It should not be liquidy, and it should not be stiff like a flour cake.  It should jiggle like Jell-O.  Take it out of the oven and place it on a cooling rack.  I run a sharp knife around the inside of the pan to release the edges of the cake from the pan to help prevent cracking.  I will then take a piece of aluminum foil and wrap it around the pan like a tent, allowing heat to escape out the back.  One reason why cheesecakes crack is because of the cooler air that flows around them.  The draft can cause your cake to crack.

Let it cool for about one-half hour and then place it in the refrigerator.  I usually put it in as is, cooling rack, tent, and all.  Allow it to chill for at least 3-4 hours before removing it from the pan.

When you are ready to slice it, remove the sides of the springform pan.  Fill a tall cup or bowl with VERY hot water and dip a very sharp knife into the hot water, allowing the blade to become hot.  Wipe the water off and then slice the cheesecake in half.  Do this for each new slice you make.  Wipe the excess cheesecake off, dip the knife in water, and then cut a new slice.  This will give you nearly perfect slices and won't cause the cheesecake to glob up on your knife.  You can put some of the leftover blueberry preserves and raspberry jam on top of your cheesecake to sweeten it up (as if it needs it).  Enjoy!! 

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