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Posts Tagged ‘blueberry’

I hope you all had a great July 4th weekend. We spent the entire Saturday at Great America, and another day in the sun at a barbecue with friends. And then there was time with family to round out the three-day weekend.

It’s been almost a couple of days, but I’m still recovering. I didn’t even want to write this post, but J said that he would punch me in the face if I didn’t. I kid, people. I kid. We like to joke around like that.

Here’s a joke for you (warning – it may or may not be funny): “What’s black and blue and creamy all over?”

A: “Someone who gets punched in the face with a cheesecake.”

Ha ha! Okay, maybe not. (Is it even physically possible to throw a punch and a cheesecake at the same time? This must be a two-handed exercise.)

The real answer to “what’s black and blue and creamy all over” is this blackberry and blueberry cheesecake.  J said it would be a shame if I waited until next year’s berry season to write about this cheesecake (I was trying to hold off until then. I am that lazy…I mean, um, tired.) So, here it is.

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This cheesecake is a plain (vanilla) cheesecake topped with blueberry syrup, fresh blackberries, and blueberries. My original intent was to make a cheesecake with only fresh blackberries, but I thought a little something more was needed to hold the blackberries and cheesecake together. I had frozen blueberries on hand, so I cooked the juice of a large handful of blueberries down to a syrup. The top of the cheesecake was coated with blueberry syrup, and piled high with fresh blackberries. And then, to tie it altogether, some blueberries were dribbled on as well.

The black and blue cheesecake was a huge success with the family. It also passed the test of a ten-year-old who, without a doubt, knows his desserts. He didn’t eat much lunch that day, but interestingly enough, he did have room for two large helpings of cheesecake.


Graham Cracker Crust

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted (you can also use less than 1/2 cup; it should work)
15-16 cinnamon graham crackers from Trader Joe’s

First, take a 10 inch springform pan and wrap the bottom tightly with foil. (The pans are not leak-proof.) Place graham crackers in a large ziplock bag, and crush the crackers to a crumb by using a rolling and pressing with a large rolling pin. Press crumbs onto the bottom of the springform pan to form a tightly packed, smooth and even layer of crumbs. (Recipes I’ve come across call for baking the crust before adding the cheesecake filling, but I accidentally skipped this step and all was well).

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Creamy Cheesecake

3 – 8 oz package cream cheese
1 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup honey
1 tbsp vanilla
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup heavy cream
pinch of salt
3 tbsp flour
4 large eggs

Preheat oven to 350°F. In a large bowl, mix first seven ingredients together, beating on medium-high speed until smooth. Add the flour and beat until incorporated. Add the eggs and beat until the mixture is just blended together. Pour mixture on top of the graham cracker crust and gently tap the pan on the counter top to ease out the bigger bubbles in the batter. Bake cheesecake for 45 minutes at 350°F. Turn off the oven and allow for cheesecake to slowly cool in the oven. (If the cheesecake cools too quickly, cracks will form as it shrinks and pulls away from the sides of the pan.) Leave the cheesecake in the oven for about an hour before pulling it out. Allow the cheesecake to cool to room temperature. At this point, you can either refrigerate the cheesecake overnight and serve it the next day, or you can chill it just so that it is firm enough to withstand the weight of the berry topping.

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Black and Blue berry topping

2 cups frozen blueberries, thawed
squeeze of lemon juice
12 oz fresh blackberries

Make the blueberry syrup. Mash 1-1/2 cup of the thawed blueberries through a strainer over a bowl, using a spoon/spatula. The blueberry skins should be left in the strainer. Add a squeeze of lemon juice to the resulting blueberry juice and heat over medium-high heat until a thick (but not too thick) syrup forms. Allow syrup to cool (the syrup will also thicken as it cools).

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Carefully unmold the cheesecake from the pan. Spread blueberry syrup on top of the cheesecake. Pile on the fresh blackberries, and sprinkle on the remaining thawed blueberries (use fresh blueberries if you have them). Keep chilled until ready to serve.

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“Mm…buttery. Yesss.” – Paco

My sister was visiting for the weekend, and on her list of things-to-do was to make cupcakes with me. The flavor of choice this time was blueberry — vanilla or chocolate cake with blueberry filling, paired with blueberry buttercream. The resulting blueberry cupcakes were tasty; together my sister and I consumed half-a-dozen of these. (Self-control does not run in my family!) There were, however, many glitches along the way: my attempt at “yellowfying” a white cake recipe gave us smaller cupcakes that didn’t get to rise beyond the cupcake liners, injecting the filling turned out to be a greater challenge than I thought, and the buttercream was splotchy and runny.

No worries, though…it was yet another reminder for me that experiments don’t always work the first time. To that, I say, “HA!” So I repeated the experiment, using a yellow cake this time around, and changing practically every part of the recipe. Troubleshooting? Oh, yesss.

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Yellow Cupcakes
24 regular cupcakes / 350 degree oven

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 cups sugar
4 large eggs, room temperature
2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup buttermilk
2 tsp vanilla

1. Beat butter on high until soft, about 30 seconds.
2. Add sugar. Beat on medium-high until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.
3. Add eggs one at a time, beat for 30 seconds between each.
4. Whisk together flour, baking powder, and baking soda in a bowl.
5. Measure out milk and vanilla together.
6. Add about a fourth of the flour to the butter/sugar mixture and beat to combine.
7. Add about one third the milk/lemon juice mixture and beat until combined.
8. Repeat above, alternating flour and milk and ending with the flour mixture.
9. Scoop into cupcake papers about all the way full (there’s a lot of batter – cupcakes will have “overflowing” tops).
10. Bake for 22-25 minutes until a cake tester comes out clean.

Blueberry Jelly Filling

Mash a handful of thawed out frozen blueberries (frozen blueberries are a lot easier to break up than fresh blueberries) through a wire mesh strainer. Only the skins should be left in the strainer – discard. Cook blueberry juice/pulp over med-high heat and add about 1 tsp cornstarch. Continue heating and stirring until the solution thickens. Take it off the heat and allow to cool.

Blueberry Buttercream

1/2 cup butter (1 stick), room temperature
3-1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
1/4 cup milk
Blueberry reduction (In another pot, cook a handful of thawed out frozen blueberries over med-high heat, crushing the blueberries with a spatula. Continue cooking and stirring until it reaches a thick, jelly-like consistency. Another lesson I learned is that while adding lemon juice brings out the flavor of the fruit, it causes the frosting to fall apart. That is why I skipped the lemon juice this time. My sister suggested adding lemon zest instead.)

In a mixing bowl, cream the butter until smooth. Add confectioners’ sugar bit by bit while beating, alternately with milk until the mixture is creamy and smooth, beating well after each addition. Beat in the blueberry reduction.

Assembly

Here’s where I got scientific, sort of. Using the thicker end of a chopstick, I stabbed each cupcake in the heart to create deep, narrow wells. I then used a 10 ml syringe to inject the blueberry jelly into each well. (This is where straining out the blueberry skin comes in handy. No clogged syringes! I had to learn this the hard way.) You may have to repeat the injection, depending on how thick the filling is, as the filling may seep into the cake. Pipe on blueberry buttercream (I used a closed star tip) and top each cupcake with a fresh blueberry.

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