Monday, May 8, 2017

Cheesecake Advice


To call these Blueberry Cheesecake Squares is sort of misleading. They have a little twist. I'm open to suggestions!

Originally, the idea was to bake cheesecake squares reminiscent of cheesecake with blueberries on top. Simple enough. Right?

But then I started wondering. Add flour or omit flour? I landed on a couple of pages where chefs answer questions, and they had fascinating discussions about baking cheesecake.

Here are the important points:

1. No flour. Flour takes away from the creaminess.

2. Have all ingredients at room temperature.

3. Don't over-beat. Unlike frostings, which usually benefit from lots of beating and the incorporation of air, you want to avoid adding air in cheesecakes.

4. After it bakes and is firm around the edges but a little jiggly in the center, turn off the oven, but leave the cheesecake in the oven for one hour with the oven closed. This goes a long way in reducing cracks.

I have to admit that I might have under-beaten the cheesecake part as a result. See the lumps in the photos. Don't be afraid to beat it!

So where's the twist? In the base! Maybe I'm the only person who has never considered this, but when I made the graham cracker base, I added 1/2 teaspoon of almond extract. Wow! It really elevates the cheesecake.

Remember that this isn't an actual cheesecake. It's much flatter, baked in a 9 x 13 pan, and meant to be served as squares.

The blueberry topping is fairly simple. I scooped out the blueberries for the top, which left quite a bit of yummy blueberry sauce for pancakes or ice cream. Yum!

Not Your Usual Blueberry Cheesecake Squares

Base:

14 sheets cinnamon graham crackers (I used Annie's)
1/2 cup melted butter
2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon almond extract

Preheat oven to 350.

In a food processor, pulse the crackers until they are crumbs. Add the melted butter, sugar, salt, and almond extract. Pulse until well combined. Press into a 9 x 13 baking dish. Bake 7 to 8 minutes. Cool.

Cheesecake:

2 8-ounce packages of cream cheese
2 eggs
3/4 cup sugar

Be sure all ingredients are at room temperature. Cream the cream cheese. Add the eggs and sugar. Combine using as slow a speed as practical. Do not over-beat.

Pour into the prepared base. Bake 30 minutes, or until the edges are firm and the center jiggles a bit. Turn off the heat. Leave the cheesecake in the oven with the door closed for 30 more minutes. Remove from oven and cool.

Blueberry Topping:

2 10-ounce packages frozen blueberries
1 cup water
3/4 cup sugar (adjust depending on the sweetness of the berries)
3 tablespoons cornstarch
3 tablespoons cold water

Place frozen blueberries into a pot with 1 cup water and sugar. Stir. Bring to a boil. Meanwhile, mix the corn starch with the cold water. When the berries boil, add the cornstarch and stir. Reduce heat to a simmer. Simmer for 5 minutes stirring occasionally but gently so you won't break the berries. Cool.

You will have more liquid than necessary. Scoop out the berries and a little juice and ladle onto the top of the cheesecake. Refrigerate at least two to three hours before cutting.


Graham cracker crumbs with a magic ingredient!

Press the crumb mixture into the pan, or roll it with a mini-rolling pin.
Spread in pan. It has a few lumps but they disappeared.

No cracks!

Blueberries in pot.

Blueberries on top. Refrigerate.




21 comments:

  1. Sounds wonderful! And I love the helpful hints, particularly the dash of almond extract. Now I want a mini-roller!

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    1. I knew Sheila would want it! LOL! Roberta, you, too? Sheila's a bad influence on us! ; )

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  2. looks yummy K! where did you find the chefs answering questions?

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    1. There are a bunch of them. Just pose your cooking issue like a question (Should I use flour in cheesecake?) and they'll pop up.

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  3. That looks lovely...I wish I could cook

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    1. This recipe is simple and straight forward enough for a cook who is not experienced. Unless you don't have an oven (and that's why you don't cook) you should be fine.

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    2. I agree with Libby. There's nothing very complicated about this recipe. Give it a try!

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  4. Great tips. Thanks for sharing.
    I like the fact that the cheesecake layer is made up of such simple ingredients.
    Looks like a winner, whatever you call it!

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    1. One of my friends made *the* best cheesecake. He insisted that there was nothing fancy about his recipe. So I try to keep it as simple as I can.

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  5. Okay, you got me! I have to Pinterest this and show it to E. We have ANOTHER Jewish Holiday coming up and having at least one dairy meal is part of it. We love cheesecake so if she agrees I'll attempt to bake one of these for us to go into sugar shock with.

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    1. Sugar shock? LOL! I hope you'll like it!

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  6. Another winner! I will be taking this with me to a family event soon. Thanks for the great tips, Krista. Xo

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    1. I think it will travel far better than a real cheesecake since it's baked in a sturdy pan. Hope they like it, Mary Jane!

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  7. I remember we made these in Home-Ec in middle school, but I can't remember what we used for the crust, but they were so delicious and everyone loved them. I'm looking forward to trying this recipe.

    I have a mini rolling pin I got from Pampered Chef, and I LOVE it! Thanks Krista!

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    1. What a great Home-Ec class! I hope you'll like them, Celia!

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  8. That looks soooo good. And I want a mini-rolling pin too! What a neat idea.

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    1. The mini-rolling pins do come in handy for smaller baking pans!

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  9. Super yum (as usual!!!), Krista! I'm with everyone else who wants a mini-roller!!! p.s. I love how you cut your blueberry cheesecake square in the shape of a triangle! ;-)

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    1. Actually, upon further reflection, I think it might be the corner piece! :-)

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  10. I HAVE to make these! They look delicious!

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