Cheesecake with Fresh Blueberry Sauce – Baine Marie Style

After my recent fruit binge, I found myself with nearly a full pint of blueberries that were on the verge of going bad. I had originally planned on whipping up a batch of blueberry muffins, but when baking time rolled around, I just wasn’t in a breakfast-y mood. Before I even entered “blueberry recipes” into Pinterest, I got a convenient craving for cheesecake. Blueberry Cheesecake it was. For some strange reason, I had 3 bricks of cream cheese in the fridge, so I figured it was meant to be.

I have made blueberry cheesecake before, but last time the blueberries were baked into the cheesecake.

This time, I wanted to put the blueberries on top in sauce-form.
IMG_5349I don’t have a go-to cheesecake recipe. In fact, I have always felt like any cheesecake I have tried to make has fallen short of my mom’s cheesecake, which is hands-down the best cheesecake in the world. Even with her recipe, it will never be as good as when she makes it!

So, I did a quick search for Cheesecake with Blueberry Topping, and clicked on the first one with a yummy-looking photo. Usually, when I don’t have time or energy to go to the store, I will filter through recipes until I find one that only requires ingredients that I already have at home. So after I found a recipe I wanted to try, I did a quick check of all the ingredients. Cream cheese, check. Eggs, check. Vanilla, well, no, but I had almond extract and thought that was close enough. Et cetera, et cetera. Luckily, the first recipe I clicked on didn’t require any ingredients I didn’t have. Perfect.

Typically, ingredients are the only thing that I have to check for (I have a decently stocked kitchen as far as supplies go), so I got to work. I made the crust, and it came out of the oven great after pre-baking! I kept reading the directions, and see, ” Take two large squares of aluminum foil and wrap the bottom and sides of the springform pan,” and think to myself, “Hm, well that’s weird,” but I carried on.

Then I whipped up the batter, subbing my almond extract for the vanilla, but following the rest of the recipe as written. I pour the batter in the pre-baked crust and everything is going great. Then I check the recipe again and see, “Place the springform pan in a larger baking dish. Pour enough water into the baking dish to come up to half of the height of the springform pan.”

Ummm, WHAT!? I have made many cheesecakes (cinnamon chip, key lime, pumpkin, the aforementioned blueberry) and none of them called for such a crazy method! I had never heard of that before, and I definitely never thought I needed to read through a cheesecake recipe checking for any baking equipment I might need!

So here I am, with a cheesecake all ready to put in the oven, but I don’t have a another pan large enough to fit my springform pan in. I was scared to try to bake the cheesecake without the water part because the batter was so much thinner than other cheesecakes I’ve made, and I didn’t think it would work properly. I had already committed to this thing, and I had to see it through. So I bundled up, walked to the store, and found an aluminum pan that my springform would fit inside.

I placed the cheesecake in the pan, added the water, and put it on the oven, just as the recipe instructed. After the entire three hours and ten minutes required to bake this bad boy (another surprise for me as I kept reading the recipe!), I took the cheesecake out.

Holy cow, it was PERFECT. Seriously perfect! Look how even it came out! There were no cracks or craters, it never fell, there were no browned parts. It was cooked to just the right consistency, and there was no guesswork. I was totally shocked and impressed.
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This method of placing the pan in a bath of water to bake is called Baine Marie. It requires the cheesecake to be placed in a water bath and cooked long and slow. The water helps regulate the temperature, and the keep the oven, and thus the baking cheesecake, moist. As I told this story to my friend, she knew exactly what this method was and why you use it for cheesecake. She’s so much smarter than me.

Anyway, if you ever find a recipe for cheesecake using the Baine Marie method, I strongly recommend it. Other than needing a bigger pan, it required minimal extra work, and the payoff was totally worth it. The cheesecake came out dense and most and beautiful looking.

I hope you like this recipe!

*   *   *

Cheesecake with Fresh Blueberry Sauce

 Crust:
1-1/2 cups crushed graham crackers
1/2 cup melted butter
1 tablespoon sugar

Cake:
500 grams of cream cheese (2 bricks, plus about 2 ounces), at room temperature
1 cup cream (I actually used 2% milk, and I think it turned out just fine)
1 sugar
3 eggs, at room temperature
1/2 flour
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon vanilla (I used almond extract)

Topping:
1 cup blueberries
1/2 cup sugar

Preheat the oven to 325oF.

Mix together the ingredients for the crust and press nto the bottom and sides of a springform pan. Bake for 10 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.
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Take two large squares of aluminum foil and wrap the bottom and sides of the springform pan.
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In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese and sugar until soft and creamy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition. Add the flour; stir until smooth. Pour in the cream, lemon juice and vanilla. Mix until smooth. Pour over the prepared crust.
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Place the springform pan in a larger baking dish. Pour enough water into the baking dish to come up to half of the height of the springform pan.
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Bake for an hour and 10 minutes. Turn off the oven but leave the cheesecake inside for another two hours. Refrigerate.
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While the cheesecake bakes, make the topping. Place the blueberries and sugar in a thick-bottomed pan. Place the pan over medium-high heat and cook until the sugar melts, stirring lightly to keep the sugar from sticking to the bottom of the pan.
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The blueberries will expel their own juices and mix in with the sugar. When the mixture is boiling, swirl the pan to evenly distribute the liquid and solids. Continue boiling gently (medium heat is best) until the mixture thickens and turns syrupy. Cool to room temperature.
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Spread the blueberries and syrup on top and chill the cheesecake for a couple of hours before slicing and serving.
IMG_5343IMG_5351Enjoy!

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