New York-Style Blueberry Cheesecake: Test Kitchen Tuesday

New York-Style Blueberry Cheesecake

Disengaged base and wall of springform pan.

Image via Wikipedia

I have always been more of a cook than a baker, gravitating toward savory over sweet. However, this week is another birthday at our house with a request for New York-Style Blueberry Cheesecake, so that is the focus of Test Kitchen Tuesday this week—I am even purchasing a springform pan to do this! 

While researching recipes, it was apparent there is a clear divide among cheesecake fans, some prefer creamy and light while others want more dense and rich cheesecake.  When my husband mentioned that the best cheesecake he had ever eaten was during our trip to New York, it was obvious he preferred the dense, rich cheesecake of the Big Apple.  In order to satisfy a variety of appetites this week I am posting three cheesecake recipes in which to choose.

The first is a recipe from Epicurious.com (sent from a friend) for Blueberry Cheesecake, which is described in the reviews to be the light and creamy version.  The second is from Cooksillustrated.com for New York-Style Cheesecake; this recipe was very similar to Emeril’s.  The third is a White Chocolate Blueberry Cheesecake (also sent from a friend) which sounds like a special occasion cake for sure—I am planning to use this crust and topping recipe for the New York-Style Cheesecake.  I hope you join me in this delicious adventure!

In the next week or so:

1.  Make one of the recipes (posted below)
2.  Leave a comment describing your experience, opinion, adjustments, or suggestions.  ♥ If you do focus on altering it to economize, choose healthier ingredients or techniques, make it gluten-free/allergy sensitive, embellish for entertaining, or incorporate into batch/once-a-month cooking, please mention that too.
3.  Subscribe to comments so you can see what others have done.
4.  If you are feeling especially proud of your creation, snap a photo and send it to me at savoringtoday@comcast.net so it can be included.

Blueberry Cheesecake

Source: Epicurious.com
For crust
2 1/3   cups graham cracker crumbs
1/2      cup unsalted butter — (1 stick) melted
1/4      cup sugar

For filling
4           8-ounce packages cream cheese — room temperature
1 1/2   cups sugar
1/4      cup all-purpose flour
5           large eggs
1           16-ounce container sour cream
1/4      cup milk
1           tablespoon vanilla extract

For topping 
1/3      cup all-fruit blueberry spread
2          6-ounce baskets fresh blueberries

Make crust:
Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 375°F. Wrap outside of 10-inch-diameter springform pan with heavy-duty foil. Combine all ingredients in processor. Blend using on/off turns just until crumbs are moist. Press crumb mixture firmly onto bottom and 2 inches up sides of prepared pan. Bake until crust begins to brown, about 8 minutes. Transfer crust to rack and cool. Maintain oven temperature.

Make filling:
Using electric mixer, beat cream cheese and sugar in large bowl until will blended. Beat in flour. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating just until combined. Beat in sour cream, milk, and vanilla. Pour filling into crust.

Place springform pan in large roasting pan. Pour enough hot water into roasting pan to come 1 inch up sides of pan. Bake cheesecake until just set in center and top is slightly puffed and golden brown, about 1 hour. Turn off oven; keep door closed. Let cheesecake stand in oven 1 hour. Remove cheesecake from roasting pan. Refrigerate until cold, at least 6 hours. Cover; refrigerate overnight.

Make topping:
Stir blueberry spread in large skillet over low heat until melted. Remove from heat. Add blueberries; toss to coat. Spoon blueberry mixture over top of cake, spreading evenly. Chill until cold, at least 1 hour and up to 4 hours.

Run small sharp knife around sides of cake to loosen. Release pan sides. Transfer cake to platter. Cut into wedges.

Note: The following photo is by Julie Blank, she substituted the fresh strawberries for the blueberry topping.

Strawberry Cheesecake by Julie Blank

New York-Style Cheesecake

Source: Cooksillustrated.com
Crust:
1           cup  graham cracker crumbs — (4 ounces, 8 whole crackers, processed in food processor until uniformly fine)
1          tablespoon  granulated sugar
5         tablespoons  unsalted butter — melted, plus additional 1 tablespoon melted butter for greasing pan

Cheesecake Filling:
2 1/2   pounds  cream cheese — cut into rough 1-inch chunks and softened
1/8    teaspoon  table salt
1 1/2   cups  granulated sugar — (10 1/2 ounces)
1/3    cup  sour cream — (2 1/2 ounces)
2           teaspoons  lemon juice from 1 lemon
2           teaspoons  vanilla extract
2           large  egg yolks
6           large  eggs

For the crust: Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 325 degrees. Combine graham cracker crumbs and sugar in medium bowl; add 5 tablespoons melted butter and toss with fork until evenly moistened. Brush bottom and sides of 9-inch springform pan with most of remaining melted butter, making sure to leave enough to brush pan in step 3. Empty crumbs into springform pan and press evenly into pan bottom. Bake until fragrant and beginning to brown around edges, about 13 minutes. Cool on wire rack while making filling.

For the cheesecake filling: Increase oven temperature to 500 degrees. In standing mixer fitted with paddle attachment, beat cream cheese at medium-low speed to break up and soften slightly, about 1 minute. Scrape beater, bottom, and sides of bowl well with rubber spatula; add salt and about half of sugar and beat at medium-low speed until combined, about 1 minute. Scrape bowl; beat in remaining sugar until combined, about 1 minute. Scrape bowl; add sour cream, lemon juice, and vanilla, and beat at low speed until combined, about 1 minute. Scrape bowl; add yolks and beat at medium-low speed until thoroughly combined, about 1 minute. Scrape bowl; add whole eggs two at a time, beating until thoroughly combined, about 1 minute, and scraping bowl between additions.

Brush sides of springform pan with remaining melted butter. Set springform pan on rimmed baking sheet (to catch any spills if springform pan leaks). Pour filling into cooled crust and bake 10 minutes; without opening oven door, reduce oven temperature to 200 degrees and continue to bake until instant-read thermometer inserted into center of cheesecake registers about 150 degrees, about 11/2 hours. Transfer cake to wire rack and cool 5 minutes; run paring knife between cake and side of springform pan. Cool until barely warm, 2 1/2 to 3 hours. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate until cold, at least 3 hours. (Cake can be refrigerated up to 4 days.)

To unmold cheesecake, remove sides of pan. Slide thin metal spatula between crust and pan bottom to loosen, and then slide cake onto serving plate. Let cheesecake stand at room temperature about 30 minutes, then cut into wedges and serve.

NOTES: When cutting the cake, have a pitcher of hot tap water nearby; dipping the blade of the knife into the water and wiping it clean with a kitchen towel after each cut helps make neat slices.

White Chocolate Blueberry Cheesecake

Source: Kris Gasper
Crust:

2        cups  crushed graham crackers
1         cup  slivered almonds
1/2    cup  white sugar
1/4    cup  clarified butter — melted
2         tablespoons  caramel topping

Filling:
1          pound  white chocolate — chopped
32       ounces  cream cheese — softened
3/4     cup  white sugar
4          eggs — beaten
2           egg yolks
1           tablespoon  all-purpose flour
1           teaspoon  vanilla extract

Topping:
1/2      cup  white sugar
1           teaspoon  cornstarch
1/4      cup  water
1           pint  fresh blueberries
2           teaspoons  lemon juice

Preheat oven to 275 degrees F (135 degrees C).

Make the crust: In a food processor, blend the graham cracker crumbs, almonds and sugar until the almonds are ground fine. Pour in the melted butter and caramel while processing, until mixture is combined. Press the mixture onto the bottom, and half way up the side of a 10″ springform pan.

Make the filling: In a metal bowl over a pan of barely simmering water, melt the white chocolate, stirring until smooth. Remove from heat and set aside. In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese and 3/4 cup sugar until smooth. Beat in the eggs and the egg yolks, one at a time. Beat in the flour and the vanilla and blend in the melted white chocolate slowly, beating until the filling is well combined. Pour filling into crust.

Bake in the middle of preheated oven for 1 hour. Then turn off the heat, and crack the oven door an inch, letting the cheesecake cool in the oven to room temperature. Cover loosely and refrigerate overnight before removing from pan.

Make the topping: In a saucepan, combine 1/2 cup sugar and cornstarch. Stir in water and blueberries. Bring to a boil, and then simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Press through a fine sieve. Stir in lemon juice, allow to cool, and then pour over the cheesecake. Store extra in a glass jar.

Ugly Cheesecake after the "fall" while cooking on the counter; and its components. Blueberry Topping transformed the unlovely into forgiving-cheesecake-lovely.

New York-Style Blueberry Cheesecake

New York-Style Blueberry Cheesecake

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10 responses to “New York-Style Blueberry Cheesecake: Test Kitchen Tuesday

  1. You will use your springform pan all the time. These are great recipes. My wife’s working nights this week, and I can’t make a dessert without her there to share. But all of these look great. I think I’d do the first one.

    • I’ve never had a springform pan before, don’t know if I will use it for anything else. I know what you mean about making dessert, it is far more enjoyable to share it with someone 🙂 Let me know how it turns out for you!

  2. I love cheesecakes, specially blueberries! Thats one of my specialty when I was in uni, I used to make these ones when my schoolmates go to our house. I have nearly the same recipe and its here http://angsarap.wordpress.com/2010/12/25/blue-berry-cheesecake/

  3. I almost want to rename this post Blood, Sweat, & Tears Cheesecake for the effort, uncertainty, and anxiety I went through for one birthday cake. New recipes always take more effort because there is no flow to them like those we have made countless times, confident in the outcome, but this came with the added pressure of a birthday (and a blog post).

    I now understand what pastry chefs mean when they say cheesecake is very forgiving–mine seemed to need a lot of forgiveness. Granted, living at altitude baked goods often do not turn out quite like those at sea level, but this was a scary sight initially. When someone walks into the kitchen and says, “what happened?” (photo above) and the next someone says, “what did you burn today?” the hope you had that flavor will be the ultimate trump, fades quickly. My inexperience fed my anxiety, but my resolve pushed forward to make the best of it, hoping it would taste better than it looked.

    Hope won, it was absolutely delicious! As my husband said after his first bite, “Mmm, creamy and dense, it's perfect.” THAT was all that mattered! So, here’s the rest of the story:

    New York-Style Cheesecake
    Crust:
    1. used brown sugar instead of white, which was delicious
    2. reduced baking time to only 8 minutes

    Filling:
    1. added 2 tsp lemon zest

    Baking Directions:
    Although the directions were very clear to not open the oven door, my inexperience with cheesecake overwhelmed my trust of Cooks Illustrated because it was so brown on top after the 500° for 10 minutes and there was 1 1/2 hours to go. So I opened the door to let out the intense heat before resetting the oven to 200°. Probably a big mistake, but I don’t know since so many things “fall” after baking at this altitude. (my husband says I’ll have to make it again to be sure 😉 )

    Blueberry Topping: I used the White Chocolate Blueberry Cheesecake recipe for the topping.
    1. tripled the recipe in order to have enough for a 10″ cheesecake
    2. added 2 tsp lemon zest
    3. added 1/4 cup more water to the tripled recipe
    4. reserved some blueberries to add fresh when served

    Everyone LOVED the cheesecake–even non-cheesecake lovers, loved it (relief isn’t a strong enough word). Will definitely make it again, but with less anxiety. (Whew!)

  4. I made the 1st recipe and it turned out simply delicious! I followed directions exactly except I topped with fresh chopped strawberries. (Photo shown by recipe.)

    • Ooh, and with strawberries in season right now, I’ll bet that was delicious! Thanks for trying it and letting me know how it worked for you. Glad I could post your photo!

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