Blackberry Bonanza

Growing up in my parent's house out in the backwoods of Washington definitely impacted my diet and tastes in life. Summer was typically a blur of tromping behind my dad on hikes, climbing trees, and tagging along on road trips with my mother. One thing that remained consistent was the time of year when the blackberry bushes that covered most of our yard bloomed and began bearing their delicious fruit. In fact there's a rather sordid tale that my family enjoys telling in order to embarrass me about how I once ate blackberries until I became incredibly sick, but let's not go over that!

So this time with my new found knowledge and love for cooking I realized what a gift all our blackberries were every year. It wasn't long before a free day came up and I had to get my hands on those blackberries. What came of four hours and about 2lbs of fresh picked blackberries from my back yard was my first ever freezer jam (which I'm still crossing my fingers in hopes that it sets) and a phenomenal blackberry ricotta cheesecake. Ricotta was made earlier by yours truly which I strongly recommend since it's insanely easy and great for everything from a simple cracker spread to delicacies like this cheesecake.
I pretty much improvised using this recipe from Delicious Shots, it's pretty simple and while you can substitute the crust with a store bought one, I strongly recommend the homemade route because it tastes about a trillion times better. This is not your average weigh-you-down-like-you-just-ate-a-pound-of-concrete kind of cheesecake either. It's a light fluffy cloud of blackberry heaven gently resting  on top a crisp crust. Perfect for any last minute summer barbeques you might be having.

For the crust:
6oz Graham crackers
3oz unsalted butter, melted
Filling:
7oz cream cheese, softened  
7oz ricotta cheese
1 cup sugar
3 eggs
The juice and zest of a lemon
1 tbls blackberry jam

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F
Wrap the outside of a 9-inch false bottom tart shell with 2 layers of heavy-duty foil.
For the crust, finely grind the crackers in a food processor. Add the melted butter
and process until the crumbs are moistened. Press the crumb mixture over the bottom
and sides of the prepared tart shell. Bake until the crust is golden, about 15 minutes.
Cool the crust completely on a cooling rack.

Meanwhile work on the filling. In a mixer with a paddle attachment, beat cream cheese
for 20 seconds. Add the Ricotta cheese, sugar and lemon juice plus zest and mix on low
for 30 seconds more, scrape the sides of the bowl. Turn up to medium speed and add the
eggs one by one, mix just until well combined.
Be careful not to overmix the batter. Place the prepared tart shell in a large roasting pan.
Pour enough hot water into the roasting pan to come halfway up the sides of the tart
shell. Bake until the cheesecake is firm and moves slightly when the pan is gently shaken,
about 45 mts to an hour. Transfer the cheesecake to a cooling rack to cool for 30 minutes.
Place in the refrigerator and cool completely, at least 6 hours and up to 2 days.
Top with fresh blackberries and enjoy!

1 comments:

  1. Looks absolutely delish!

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