by Danie Rodriquez//
Summer is in full swing and outdoor picnics and barbeques are top of the list for weekend get-togethers. Here in the South, we enjoy spending time with family and friends on the weekend and these get-togethers always include great food.
This time of year we also are blessed with an abundance of fresh blueberries. These amazing berries grow really well in our area and there is always plenty to be had. Around July 4th, you see a lot of cakes topped with blueberries and strawberries in the shape of our American flag to celebrate the great country we live in. I love this display of patriotism through food and it is delicious as well, but this year I thought it would be nice to change things up a little and make a different dessert for your holiday table or just any old weekend that your family and friends are getting together around the grill.
I have made a variety of cheesecakes for more than 20 years, but this particular one celebrates everything that is great about blueberries. So, try something a little different and surprise everyone with a cool, creamy cheesecake for a hot summer night.
Chef Danie’s Blueberry Cheesecake
5 8 oz. bars of cream cheese (room temp)
1 cup ricotta (soprafina if you can find it)
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup flour, plus 2 tablespoons
2 Tbsp. lemon zest
2 tsp. vanilla
1 cup blueberries, plus extra for cake topping
Graham cracker crust
1/2 cup graham cracker crumbs
2 Tbsp. sugar
2 Tbsp. butter
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line the bottom of a springform pan with parchment paper by removing the bottom flat circle of the pan, cover with parchment paper, and then add back to springform pan and lock to secure bottom. Sit pan on a piece of foil large enough to completely cover the bottom and wrap half way up the sides.
In a bowl, mix graham cracker crust together using hands to crumble the butter ,sugar and graham crackers into a crumb texture with none of the butter in big clumps. Press mixture into the bottom of the springform pan and bake for 5 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside to cool.
Dust fresh blueberries with 2 Tbsp. flour and set aside.
Mix cream cheese, ricotta and sugar in a mixer until well blended. Add eggs one at a time and mix until eggs are incorporated. Add other ingredients (except blueberries) and mix together. Fold blueberries into mixture very carefully. DO NOT OVERMIX. Pour mixture into springform pan on top of graham cracker crust.
Place springform pan with the foil covering the bottom half in a larger pan filled with about 2 inches of hot water, which creates a water bath to bake the cheesecake in. Make sure none of the water gets in between the foil and the actual pan. The foil is meant to be a barrier from the water seeping into the bottom of the springform pan.
Bake for 50 minutes. Remove from oven and sit somewhere to cool at room temperature. When cooled, refrigerate for 8 hours before cutting. Top with whipped cream and fresh blueberries.
Chef Danie is the executive chef and owner of City Line Cafe in Gulfport, Lunch in Biloxi. She is the culinary arts director for Chef Danie Cooks and offers private culinary classes. She can be reached at (228) 282-4416 or firstname.lastname@example.org.