Baked Blueberry and Vanilla Cheesecake

I like to have one or two definitive recipes for each seasonal fruit. Ones that I know will always work and when the season for that fruit comes around again I get excited and start salivating about making again. But up until now, I have never had one such recipe for blueberries. So, I set about rectifying the situation and the first thing that sprang to mind was Blueberry Cheesecake.

I am always a little apprehensive about making cheesecake. I think I have just had so many horrid ones, over sweet, gelatinous and gloopy! When I was a kid in the 70’s I even remember making one from a packet which was pretty disgusting. But then I went to New York and I will never forget the wondrous baked cheesecakes, topped with sour cream. Slightly grainy at the edges, totally wobbling creaminess in the middle. Mind-blowing. So, I was a little nervous of trying to recreate what I had reminisced. I scoured through hundreds of recipes to find one that sounded right, and never imagined that the first one I tried was going to turn out such perfection.

Baked Blueberry and Vanilla Cheesecake

150g digestive biscuits, smashed

20g caster sugar

70g butter, melted

Filling

800g Philadelphia cream cheese

150g creme fraiche

190g caster sugar

1 tablespoon vanilla bean paste, or essence

4 eggs

30g flour

50ml milk

200g blueberries

100g creme fraiche

200g blueberries to decorate

Preheat oven to 170 C / Gas mark 4. Lightly oil a 25cm cake tin. I lined mine with grease-proof as I was frightened that otherwise it would leak.

Mix the biscuits, sugar and butter together and press evenly into the bottom of the tin to form a base. I used a potato masher.

Mix the creme fraiche, cream cheese, sugar and vanilla using an electric mixer. Add the eggs one after another and always mix well in between. Add the milk and flour and mix as well. Stir in the blueberries and pour into the tin. Bake for about 1 hour in the oven. The cake should be well risen, golden brown on top and just very slightly wobbly in the middle. Take out and allow to cool. After cooling spread the cake with 100g of creme fraiche and let it cool in the fridge for at least 3 hours. I couldn’t wait and ate mine after about an hour. Decorate with blueberries.

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Blueberry Pound Cake

Blueberries

Finally for this week, I was tempted by the delicious looking blueberries, fresh in at Riverford this week. These are delicious just sprinkled on your breakfast but I was inspired to make a cake which I have often made when cooking Riverford lunches. This cake is super easy and I particually like it as it works equally well as a pudding with a dollop of Crème Fraiche or Clotted Cream, as it does with a cup of tea in the afternoon. You can either bake it is the traditional bundt tin (I managed to find one in Elys sale) or else try it in cupcake cases.

Blueberry pound cake

2 cups plus 8 Tbsp. Plain Flour (14oz)

1 tsp. baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

5 large eggs

1 2/3 cup sugar (14oz)

2 1/2 cups (10 ounces) unsalted butter, diced, at room temperature

2 Tbsp. Vanilla Bean Paste

1 cup/punnet blueberries

 Set an oven rack to the middle position, and preheat the oven to 170⁰C. Butter a standard-sized Bundt tin and dust it with flour, shaking out any excess. Do this well – the edges of Bundt tins can stick. In the bowl of a food processor, blend eggs and sugar until thick and pale yellow. Add butter and vanilla, and blend until the mixture is fluffy, about 1 minute, stopping once to scrape down the sides of the bowl. If the mixture looks curdled, don’t worry. Add dry ingredients saving back 1 tbsp. of flour, and process just to combine. Do not over mix. The batter should be thick and very smooth. In a bowl, toss berries with the remaining tablespoon of flour. Pour batter into the prepared pan, spreading it evenly across the top. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the cake’s centre comes out clean, 1 to 1 1/4 hours. Transfer cake to a rack, and allow to cool. Carefully invert the cake out of the pan onto the rack, and cool for at least 20 minutes before slicing. Serve slightly warm or at room temperature.