My next big use for blueberries had some unintended consequences. I wanted to make a blueberry compote to serve over plain ol’ cheesecake for a Father’s Day dessert. Something simple and summery but bursting with fresh, tart berry flavor.
The unintended consequence? A picked a recipe for New York-style cheesecake from Cook’s Illustrated that completely out-shined the blueberry compote. Well, I guess they actually went really well together but the dessert as a whole went from ok to fabulous thanks to the cheesecake. My Dad said it was restaurant quality, which just about the best you can ask for from a Father’s Day dessert.
The berry compote is basic but provides a beautiful drizzle over the cream-yellow cake and adds a fresh fruity layer of flavor and texture on top of all that richness. The cheesecake is super creamy, slightly sour and dense–the kind that sticks to the fork tines as you take a bite. And it’s HUGE! The thing takes FIVE PACKAGES of cream cheese–I had to
make ask Greg to run out and pick up more. But, it’s all worth it.
Actually, it might be a good time to buy stock in Kraft because it was SO worth it, I am seriously never using another cheesecake recipe again.
New York-style Cheesecake with Blueberry Compote
Cheesecake adapted from Cooks Illustrated Cookbook
For the Cheesecake
- 8 whole honey graham crackers, broken
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 5 tablespoons butter, melted
- 2 1/2 pounds (5 8 oz. packages) cream cheese, softened
- 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1/3 cup sour cream
- 2 teaspoons lemon juice
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 egg yolks
- 6 large eggs
- 1 tablespoon butter, melted
For the Compote
- 1 cup blueberries
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1-2 tablespoons cornstarch
For the Cheesecake
Heat oven to 325 degrees F. In a food processor bowl fitted with blade attachment, process graham crackers and sugar until the crackers are fine crumbs and combined with the sugar (about 30 seconds). With the machine running, drizzle in melted butter. Stop machine and remove bowl; use a spatula to scrape sides of bowl and moisten any crumbs that haven't combined with butter.
Press mixture into a 9- or 10-inch springform pan using the flat bottom of a cup to achieve an even layer. Do not spread mixture up sides of pan.
Bake until crust just begins to brown around edges, 10-12 minutes. Remove from oven to cool completely.
Increase oven temperature to 500 degrees F. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, add cream cheese in 1-inch chunks and beat on low until broken up and slightly creamed, about 1 minute.
Add 3/4 cup sugar and salt and beat on medium low until combined. Scrape sides of bowl and beat in remaining sugar until combined and mixture is completely creamy. Scrape down sides of bowl.
Add sour cream, lemon juice, and vanilla and beat on low until combined. Scrape down bowl.
Add egg yolks and beat until combined, then add eggs one at a time, allowing each egg to be thoroughly incorporated and scraping down the sides of the bowl before adding the next egg.
Place springform pan with crust on a large baking sheet to catch any leaks and facilitate removal from the oven. Brush the inside sides of the pan with melted butter then pour cream cheese batter over crust. Jiggle the pan slightly to even out the batter and coax any bubbles to the top.
Bake at 500 degrees F for 10 minutes then lower the heat to 200 degrees F without opening the oven door. Bake about 90 minutes longer or until center of cheesecake is set and registers about 150 degrees F.
Remove cake from oven and allow to cool about 15 minutes then run a thin knife or metal spatula around edge of cake to loosen from pan. Cool another 2-3 hours then wrap and refrigerate until serving.
For the Compote
Place berries and sugar in a small saucepot over medium heat. Stir and slightly smash berries with a sturdy spoon until berries release some of their juices and combine with sugar. Heat to barely a boil.
In a small cup, combine lemon juice and 1 tablespoon of cornstarch. Add to barely boiling berry mixture and stir quickly to combine. Boil 2 minutes longer; if mixture hasn't reached the consistency of thick syrup, add a little more cornstarch in water to thicken or a little more water to thin.
Serve alongside cheesecake.
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