I've always had wild blackberries growing on the perimeter of my suburban yard. A year or two ago my mother in law have me a few shoots of her mother in law's raspberries. For the last two summers I've left them to my daughter and the birds who seem to have picked over the few berries they produced. This year, however, things are different. I have an actual raspberry patch and the blackberries are unusually productive. It was time to google some recipe ideas.
I came up with a cross between my favorite cheater cheesecake recipe and a Smitten Kitchen cheesecake bar topped with lovely things. Let me start by saying that the cheesecake pictured here was made in a store bought crust. You know the kind. It is in an aluminum dish that you won't have to wash and the elves on the label assure you that it is good. I've said it before and I'll say it again. I'm no food snob. I'll use a kitchen hack when the mood is right. On this particular day... I took the lazy way out. Even my 8 year old daughter commented that this dessert would be way better with a home made crust. Ok, I get it. This is a mistake I won't repeat. Do yourself a favor and get the darn Cuisinart out to make a graham cracker crust. It's easy and it is way better than the one in the aluminum dish. Also, I think that the proportions will work a little better in a slightly bigger pan. I think the store bought ones are smaller than the standard 9".
I haven't blogged about it yet because it isn't fall so I'll link you to the easy Pumpkin Cheesecake here. I like this because it isn't fussy and making it in a pie plate just seems so easy. It is my standard alternative to a pumpkin pie at Thanksgiving dinner.
For the crust:
10 graham cracker sheets
7 Tbsp melted butter
3 Tbsp white sugar
Preheat oven to 325°. Place crackers in food processor and pulse until crumbled. Add sugar to bowl and pulse to combine. Slowly add melted butter whirling to combine. Take this crumbly mess and press it into your pie plate in a thin layer being sure to press up the sides of the dish. Bake uncovered for 7 minutes to set.
For the filling:
2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
I add the cream cheese to the bowl of my Kitchen Aid mixer. You CAN mess this up (in a way that is still totally edible) by not letting the cream cheese get room temperature enough. I've used the "soften" function on my microwave as well but this is less than ideal. You must also mix and mix the cream cheese until it's very creamy. Don't rush this step. Add the sugar and vanilla blending well. Add the eggs one at a time until well combined. Pour this into the crust. I've never had issues adding it while warm. You'll bake this at the same 325° for somewhere between 25-35 minutes depending on your pan. The middle should have a Jello-ish shake to it when it's done. Let cool 5 min before topping with the following.
For the topping:
1 1/2 cups sour cream
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 Tbsp sugar
Whisk these ingredients together. Spread them evenly over your 5 min cooled cheesecake. Bake an additional 10 min at the same 325°. Remove from oven, cool completely and refrigerate for at least 3 hours but overnight for best results. Top before serving with your favorite assortment of berries. I used about 2 cups of mixed blackberries and raspberries.