If you have a daughter in middle school who likes to read, there’s a good chance you’re familiar with Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson. There’s likely an equally good chance that you’ve been asked to dye something like pancakes or cupcakes an indecent shade of blue because of Percy’s proclivity for foods of that color.
This Blueberry Shortbread Cheesecake was as close as I would go. No additives needed.
The crust is an almond shortbread with a hint of citrus zest. The cheesecake itself is dense with a touch of lemon extract – the blueberry topping ties it together with some orange juice and a bit of additional lemon zest.
The cake tastes best if made the day before serving, and will keep in the fridge for several days.
When mixing the batter, have your cream cheese and butter at room temperature and beat the mixture on low speed to avoid adding too much air.
After you’ve baked the cheesecake and turned off the heat, leave it in the oven with the door ajar until the oven has cooled down. Then remove the cheesecake and refrigerate until ready to serve. About an hour before serving, you can top it with the blueberries.
Cut the cake with a knife dipped in hot water and wiped dry. This will help you make clean cuts and prevent sticking.
Trying making a double batch of the shortbread crust and keeping the extra in the fridge. You can use it to make two 8×8″ pans of Lemon Bars, or bake and top with caramel and a drizzle of chocolate.
- 1 cup / 250 ml all-purpose flour
- ⅓ cup / 80 ml granulated sugar
- ½ cup / 125 ml almonds, ground
- 1 teaspoon / 5 ml lemon zest
- 1 teaspoon / 5 ml orange zest
- ½ cup / 125 ml butter, cut into 1-inch / 2.5 cm cubes
- ½ teaspoon / 2.5 ml salt (if using unsalted butter)
- 3 (8 oz / 250 g) packages cream cheese, softened
- ¼ cup / 60 ml butter, softened
- ¾ cup / 205 ml granulated sugar
- ¼ teaspoon / 1.25 ml salt
- 2 large eggs
- ½ cup / 125 ml sour cream
- 1 teaspoon / 5 ml lemon extract
- 2 cups / 500 ml fresh or frozen blueberries
- ½ cup / 125 ml orange juice
- ¼ cup / 60 ml brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon / 5 ml lemon zest
- 1-1/2 tablespoons / 22.5 ml cornstarch
- 2 tablespoons / 30 ml water
- Preheat oven to 300 degrees F / 148 degrees C.
- Grease the bottom and sides of a 9-inch / 23 cm springform pan.
- Cut a circle of parchment paper to fit the bottom of the pan.
- (You can wrap the bottom edge of the pan with aluminum foil to prevent any leaking.)
- Process the almonds in food processor until finely ground. Add sugar and process until mixed. Add flour, salt, orange and lemon zest and whizz until mixed.
- With food processor running, drop butter in a few cubes at a time until mixture is crumbly.
- Press into the bottom of prepared pan, and push up the sides slightly.
- (You can prepare this crust without a food processor by mixing ground almonds with remaining dry ingredients in a mixing bowl, then cutting in butter with two knives or a pastry blender. You can use confectioners sugar if mixing by hand to create a smoother texture.)
- Beat softened cream cheese and butter on low speed until blended.
- Add sugar ¼ cup at a time until completely mixed.
- Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.
- Add sour cream, lemon extract and salt and mix thoroughly.
- Pour over crust in pan, and bake for 1-1/2 hours or until lightly browned.
- Cake will continue to set as it cools, so do not overbake. The center should still be slightly soft. Turn off the oven, and leave the door open slightly. Leave the cake in the oven until the oven cools. The cake will deflate slightly, so edges of the cake will be higher than the center.
- Remove cake from oven and cool in fridge. Remove sides of pan by running a knife around edges of cheesecake before releasing spring on pan.
- About an hour before serving, spread the topping over. Remove the cake from the fridge about ½ hour before serving.
- Heat blueberries, orange juice, brown sugar and lemon juice in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat.
- Lower heat and let simmer 5 minutes. Mix cornstarch with water and add to mixture. Stir in thoroughly and return to simmer. Remove from heat and let cool completely before spreading on top of cheesecake.