Kitchen Adventures, Cooking Explosions

Adventures in Cheesecake

Posted on: March 6, 2010

Up until a few weeks ago, I had never made a cheesecake. They were things of legend in my mind, things that involved water baths and other esoteric things. I bought them frozen from the grocery store, or ate them in restaurants, but never made my own.

I had, on a couple of occasions, made what I know as “Mennonite cheesecake” (I suspect I call it that because it was served at every potluck I ever attended that was somehow involving the Mennonite church, or people who came from Mennonite background). It’s that unbaked cheesecake, the kind with a graham cracker crust, cream cheese and Dream Whip middle, with canned pie filling on top. It was tasty, and involved no scary things like water baths.

(I have no idea why the idea of baking something in a water bath seems to be the most complicated thing ever, for me. I just always associate it with super-fancy high class complicated dessert.)

But then, I got springform pans for Christmas. And what goes well in a springform pan? A lot of things, I discovered, but most especially, CHEESECAKE. So, my partner asked me to make a cheesecake.

I was, and still am, wary about making things with a water bath. But I reeeeeaaaaally wanted cheesecake. Thankfully, the recipe on the back of the Philadelphia cream cheese brick didn’t involve a water bath, so I decided that that would be my recipe! (Someday, I will brave a water bath while baking. Someday.)  I did add some blueberries to it, though. I love fruit cheesecake! I also made my own blueberry pie filling to go on top.

So now, cheesecake is off my list of  “Scary Things I Don’t Feel Confident Enough To Bake”! This is a very exciting thing.

Philadephia New York Cheesecake (from, slightly edited)

1-1/4 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/4 cup butter, melted
5 pkg. (250 g each) Philadelphia Cream Cheese, softened
1 cup sugar
3 tbsp. flour
1 tbsp. vanilla
1 cup sour cream
4 eggs
1 cup blueberries

Preheat oven to 325°F if using a silver 9-inch springform pan (or to 300°F if using a dark nonstick 9-inch springform pan). Mix crumbs and butter; press firmly onto bottom of pan. Bake 10 min.
Beat cream cheese, sugar, flour and vanilla in large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed until well blended. Add sour cream; mix well. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing on low speed after each addition just until blended. Mix in blueberries. Pour over crust.

Bake 1 hour 10 min. or until centre is almost set. Run knife or metal spatula around rim of pan to loosen cake; cool before removing rim of pan. Refrigerate 4 hours or overnight. (This is important. This makes the cheesecake set, and taste, well, like a cheesecake. I was impatient and tried it after about 45 minutes or so, and while tasty, was not as good until I let it sit. The more patient you are, the creamier and nicer the cheesecake.)

Blueberry Pie Filling (from (I only used about half of this, but it freezes nicely for later!)

4 c. fresh or frozen blueberries
1 c. sugar
3 tbsp. cornstarch or 6 tbsp. flour
1/2 tsp. grated lemon peel
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. grated nutmeg
1 c. water
2 tbsp. lemon juice

Mix dry ingredients in saucepan.

Add water gradually. Bring to a boil, add blueberries and cook 3 or 4 minutes until clear and thickened, stirring constantly but carefully to prevent berries from crushing.

Remove from heat, add lemon juice.


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