Saturday, May 26, 2012

National Blueberry Cheesecake Day


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By Chef Diane

A few months ago I was talking to my cousin in Texas. He recently turned 50, so I have been giving him grief about getting older. That’s the job of a good cousin right? He has had periods of forgetfulness, so in my research I found that along with Ginko, blueberries are also great in helping with memory issues. So...I made him a card with a picture of blueberries on it, to help him remember to eat some blueberries.  You would think he would appreciate my subtle reminders...hahaha.

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The other night I was having a craving for some ice cream.  I don't like buying it and having it in my freezer, because once its there it calls to me constantly until I eat it all up.  Does your food ever "talk" to you??  Well this craving was so strong that I decided to go down the road to McDonald's for an ice cream cone.  As I pulled up to the box to place my order, I looked up at the menu and saw a big bowl of blueberries...they sell them now.  I thought to myself, isn’t that a   healthy choice?

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Today when I looked at my assignment sheet I see that it is National Blueberry Cheesecake day.  I think someone is telling me to make blueberry cheesecake.   It is believed that cheesecake originated in Ancient Greece where it was served to athletes during the Olympic Games in 776 B.C. Since then, recipes for cheesecake have evolved and today we have cheesecakes in hundreds of flavors — from plain to white chocolate to blueberry,

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The types of cheese used in cheesecake vary depending on where it is made and the intended flavor of the cheesecake. American cheesecakes are made with cream cheese, while Italian cheesecakes are made with ricotta. Furthermore, German and Polish cheesecake recipes call for quark cheese.

Blueberries are full of Vitamin C and dietary fiber.  They contain manganese, which plays an important role in bone development and in converting the proteins, carbohydrates and fats in food into to energy, and they have great antioxidant benefits as well.  With all these benefits, how can you not have some blueberry cheesecake?  Below is a recipe from Myrecipes.com to get you started.   If you don’t have time to make all this, you can get a mix for cheesecake that is on the cake mix aisle at your grocery, you can get already made mix in containers in your dairy aisle, or you can even get a frozen cheese cake and add your own blueberries.  What's stopping you?  Celebrate Blueberry Cheesecake Day!

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Blueberry Cheesecake

Ingredients
Crust:
  • 2/3 cup graham cracker crumbs (about 5 cookie sheets)
  • 2/3 cup reduced-fat vanilla wafer crumbs (about 20 cookies)
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 3 tablespoons butter, melted

Filling:
  • 2 1/2 cups fresh or frozen wild blueberries, thawed
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 2 1/2 (8-ounce) blocks fat-free cream cheese, softened
  • 1 (8-ounce) block 1/3-less-fat cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 5 large eggs 
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Topping:
  • 1 1/2 cups fat-free sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Sauce:
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen, thawed, wild blueberries

Preparation
  1. Preheat oven to 325°.
  2. To prepare crust, combine first 3 ingredients in a medium bowl. Drizzle with butter; toss with a fork until moist. Firmly press mixture into bottom of a 9-inch spring form pan coated with cooking spray. Bake at 325° for 10 minutes; cool on a wire rack.
  3. To prepare filling, combine 2 1/2 cups blueberries and 1 tablespoon cornstarch in a food processor, and process until smooth. Place puree in a small saucepan; bring to a boil. Cook 6 minutes or until slightly thick, stirring constantly. Cool slightly. Reserve 1/2 cup blueberry puree for sauce; set remaining 1 cup blueberry puree aside.
  4. Place cheeses in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at high speed for 3 minutes or until smooth. Combine 1 cup sugar, 2 tablespoons cornstarch, and salt. Add sugar mixture to cheese mixture; beat well. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Pour batter over prepared crust. Pour 1 cup blueberry puree over batter; gently swirl with a knife. Bake at 325° for 1 hour and 10 minutes or until cheesecake center barely moves when pan is touched. Remove cheesecake from oven (do not turn oven off); place cheesecake on a wire rack.
  5. To prepare topping, combine sour cream, 2 tablespoons sugar, and vanilla in a small bowl, stirring well. Spread sour cream mixture evenly over cheesecake. Bake at 325° for 10 minutes. Remove cheesecake from oven; run a knife around outside edge. Cool to room temperature. Cover and chill at least 8 hours. Remove sides of spring form pan.
  6. To prepare sauce, combine reserved 1/2 cup blueberry puree, 1/4 cup sugar, and water in a small saucepan. Cook over medium heat for 8 minutes or until sauce is thick, stirring constantly. Gently fold in 1 cup blueberries. Remove from heat, and cool. Serve sauce with cheesecake

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