Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Lemon Souffle Cheesecake with Blueberry Compote

My daughter, Meghann, loves blueberry cheesecake. When she was 2, I left her briefly at the dining table and returned to find she finished off half of a blueberry cheesecake. She was real chubby as a kid, ha-ha! Lately, she had been bugging me to bake and blog about cheesecake, which I had been resisting. Here's the thing-- she is currently half way round the globe from me. If I bake the cheesecake, she won't be able to devour it anyway, so that means that I have to and it will end up in my waistline. But then, I miss my baby girl, so I baked her favorite blueberry cheesecake.

I love this recipe by Tish Boyle from her book The Cake Book. This cheesecake is delicate, very light and with a souffle-like texture. A juicy blueberry compote is spooned over each slice before serving.

Lemon Souffle Cheesecake with Blueberry Compote
(Makes one 9-inch cake)

Graham Cracker Crust
1 1/4 cups graham cracker crumbs
2 T granulated sugar
4 T unsalted butter, melted

Vanilla Souffle Filling
2 lbs cream cheese, softened
1 1/3 cups granulated sugar, divided
4 large eggs, separated
1 T finely grated lemon zest
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 t vanilla extract
1/2 cup sour cream

Blueberry topping
3 cups fresh blueberries, divided
1/3 cup sugar
1 t freshly squeezed lemon juice

Make the crust: Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350 F. Lightly grease the bottom and sides of a 9x3 spring form pan. Cut an 18-inch square of heavy-duty aluminum foil and wrap the foil around the outside of the pan. In a medium bowl, combine the graham cracker crumbs, sugar and melted butter. Pat the mixture evenly into the bottom of the prepared pan. bake the crust for 8 minutes, or until lightly browned. Set the pan in a wire rack and cool the crust completely. Reduce the oven temperature to 325 F.

Make the filling: In the bowl of an electric mixer, using the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese at medium-low speed until creamy, about 2 minutes. Gradually add 1 cup of the sugar and beat until blended. Add the egg yolks one at a time, mixing well after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Add the lemon zest, lemon juice and vanilla extract and mix until blended. Add the sour cream and mix until combined.

In a clean mixer bowl, using the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites at medium speed until they begin to turn opaque. Very gradually add the remaining 1/3 cup sugar, then increase the speed to high and beat until soft peaks form.

Using a rubber spatula, gently fold 1/3 of the whites into the cream cheese mixture. Fold in the remaining whites in two more additions.

Scrape the batter into the cooled crust and smooth the top into an even layer.

Place the pan into a roasting pan or a larger baking pan. Pour enough hot water into the roasting pan to come 1 inch up the side of the springform pan. bake the cheesecake in the water bath for 50 to 55 minutes or until just set.

Turn the oven off and prop its door ajar with wooden spoon. Leave the cake in the oven for 1 hour to set completely.

Remove the cake from the water bath and set it on a wire rack to cool completely. Refrigerate the cheesecake for at least 4 hours before serving.

Make the topping: In a small saucepan, combine 1 cup of the blueberries with the sugar. Cook over medium low heat, stirring frequently, until the berries pop and release their juices, about 7 minutes. Strain the mixture through a fine sieve into a bowl, pressing down on the berries to release as much liquid as possible. Discard the berries in the sieve and let the blue berry juice cool. Stir in the remaining 2 cups berries and the lemon juice into the juices.

To serve, remove the sides of the pan, slice the cake with a thin bladed sharp knife, wiping the knife clean between each cut. Serve topped with generous amount of blueberry topping.

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