This weekend is extra special for two reasons. First, It was my mom’s birthday yesterday!! We had a delicious dinner, with not one, but two turkey’s! Because, secondly, it was also Easter! A time to get together with family and friends over delicious food!! And I’m finally finished exams!!!!! Well, I guess that’s three things that make this weekend awesome.
My mom is jetting off to Vegas this morning! Lucky huh?!
I decided to make my mom dessert in between studying for exams. Her favorite dessert is cheesecake, so naturally I had to make one. I’ve made cheesecake a multiple of times, pumpkin, and a traditional NY cheesecake for Mother’s Day one year also.
But, I have had this gigantic bag of blackberries that Adam and I had picked last summer still lingering in the freezer. Slowly we’ve been eating them but we just seem to never run out! I wanted to make something easter-y and spring-y. I decided to tweak my usual recipe, and make a lemon cheesecake with lemon juice and zest, and then swirl blackberry onto the top. And of course, I made a blackberry compote to go with it as well. It was so refreshing and delicious! If I do say so myself.
Also, being the great daughter I am 😉 I bought my mom and I tickets to go see WICKED at the Queen Elizabeth theatre this June in Vancouver!! I am so excited to see it. I have heard so many great reviews about it. Have you seen it yet?? Did you like it?? My mom and I love going to the theatre, we’ve seen Mamma Mia and a few Ballet’s. I just love getting dressed up and seeing a show.
Back to the cheesecake. You can add in any additions, lime zest, lime juice, different berries etc. All delicious. I would suggest making this a day ahead, and letting it cool completely overnight in the refridgerator.
Hope you all have a great Easter weekend!!
Lemon Cheesecake with Blackberry Swirl
– makes 10-16 servings –
Adapted From Baking From My Home to Yours, by Dorie Greenspan
For the crust
1 3/4 cups graham cracker crumbs
3 tablespoons sugar
1/2 stick (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted
For the cheesecake:
2 pounds (four 8-ounce boxes) cream cheese, at room temperature
1 1/3 cups sugar
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
4 large eggs, at room temperature
1 1/3 cups sour cream or heavy cream, or a combination of the two
Lemon zest of two lemons
Juice from one whole lemon
1/2 cup fresh blackberries
1 cup Fresh or Frozen Blackberries
3 tbs. Lemon
2 tbs. Sugar
1/4 cup water
To make the crust:
1. Butter a 9-inch springform pan—choose one that has sides that are 2 3/4 inches high (if the sides are lower, you will have cheesecake batter leftover)—and wrap the bottom of the pan in a double layer of aluminum foil; put the pan on a baking sheet. Make sure it is tightly secured, you don’t want a soggy crust!
2. Stir the crumbs, and sugar together in a medium bowl. Pour over the melted butter and stir until all of the dry ingredients are uniformly moist. (I do this with my fingers.) Turn the ingredients into the buttered springform pan and use your fingers to pat an even layer of crumbs along the bottom of the pan and about halfway up the sides. Don’t worry if the sides are not perfectly even or if the crumbs reach above or below the midway mark on the sides—this doesn’t have to be a precision job.
3. Center a rack in the oven, preheat the oven to 350°F and place the springform on a baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes. Set the crust aside to cool on a rack while you make the cheesecake.
4. Reduce the oven temperature to 325°F.
To make the cheesecake:
1. Put a kettle of water on to boil.
2. Working in a stand mixer, preferably fitted with a paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the cream cheese at medium speed until it is soft and lives up to the creamy part of its name, about 4 minutes. With the mixer running, add the sugar and salt and continue to beat another 4 minutes or so, until the cream cheese is light. Beat in the vanilla. Add the eggs one by one, beating for a full minute after each addition—you want a well-aerated batter. Add in Lemon Zest and Lemon juice. Reduce the mixer speed to low and stir in the sour cream and/or heavy cream.
3. Put the foil-wrapped springform pan in the roaster pan.
4. Give the batter a few stirs with a rubber spatula, just to make sure that nothing has been left unmixed at the bottom of the bowl. Reserve about 1/4-1/2 cup batter in a small bowl, and scrape the rest of the batter into the springform pan. The batter will reach the brim of the pan. (If you have a pan with lower sides and have leftover batter, you can bake the batter in a buttered ramekin or small soufflé mold.)
4a. Using a blender, puree the fresh blackberries until liquid. Stir the blackberry puree into the reserved 1/4/-1/2 cup batter. Mix together thoroughly. Using a spoon dollop a small amount of the blackberry batter onto the top of the cheesecake batter in small circles dotted on top randomly. Using a knife, draw lines through the cake mixing the batter and swirling it ever so slighty.
4b. Put the roasting pan in the oven and pour enough boiling water into the roaster to come halfway up the sides of the springform pan.
5. Bake the cheesecake for 1 hour and 30 minutes, at which point the top will be browned (and perhaps cracked) and may have risen just a little above the rim of the pan. Turn off the oven’s heat and prop the oven door open with a wooden spoon. Allow the cheesecake to luxuriate in its water bath for another hour.
6. After 1 hour, carefully pull the setup out of the oven, lift the springform pan out of the roaster—be careful, there may be some hot water in the aluminum foil—remove the foil. Let the cheesecake come to room temperature on a cooling rack. Do not rush it!
7. When the cake is cool, cover the top lightly and chill the cake for at least 4 hours, although overnight would be better.
Serving: Remove the sides of the springform pan and set the cake, still on the pan’s base, on a serving platter. The easiest way to cut cheesecake is to use a long, thin knife that has been run under hot water and lightly wiped. Keep warming the knife as you cut slices of the cake.
Storing: Wrapped well, the cake will keep for up to 1 week in the refrigerator or for up to 2 months in the freezer. It’s best to defrost the still-wrapped cheesecake overnight in the refrigerator.