Cheesecake,  Dessert

Triple Berry Cheesecake…My 100th Post!

My 100th Post!!  My little blog has certainly become a significant part of my life; sharing my favorite recipes and little stories of my life.  I’m surprised to think I had 100 recipes to post and yet I can think of so many, many more I’d like to share!  What once started as a way to give my daughter Gina recipes from home has grown into sharing with friends and relatives and new found friends I’ve met over the internet. 

This 100th post simply fell into place perfectly.  With Mother’s Day approaching, spring weather and fresh berries becoming more seasonally available, my Triple Berry Cheesecake is just the right dessert to celebrate with.  Cheesecakes have always been my specialty.  In fact, a separate page on my blog was necessary just to list out all the cheesecakes I have made!  Recently I have been creating these cheesecakes to be gluten-free by preparing the crust with gluten-free ingredients. 

Cheesecakes are creamy, dreamy and delicious!  They can be baked and served year round having so many seasonal varieties and flavors.  Some recipes produce heavier, dense elaborate cakes; others are lighter, slightly sweetened elegant cakes.  Savory cheesecakes make a beautiful presentation as an appetizer served with crackers.  Cheesecakes can be made ahead of time, up to 2 days before serving or frozen for up to 2 months without the toppings.  Normally my cheesecakes take two days to prepare as I will bake the cheesecake the first day and on the second day release the cake from the pan and prepare the topping. 

After twenty plus! years of baking cheesecakes, I have a few key points I follow.  Always have room temperature cream cheese.  And by room temperature, that would mean having the cream cheese out of the refrigerator and out of its packaging no less than 1 – 2 hours.  The eggs should also be room temperature, as well as, any dairy, though I do not leave my liquid dairy out for more than 15-20 minutes.  I use full fat cream cheese or split the quantity of cream cheese by using half full fat and half reduced fat.  I have never used no fat in cheesecakes or anything else!!

Many recipes call for baking a cheesecake in a water bath or bain-marie which involves wrapping the spring form pan in foil and placing it in a larger pan with water.  I do not do this.  Never have, probably never will.  I place a baking pan filled with water on the bottom rack in the oven, heat the oven to the desired temperature and then bake the cheesecake on the rack above.  No cracks on my cheesecakes!  Plus, the batter should not be over mixed, baking should be at a low temperature and not over baked.  The cheesecake is ready when the middle is slightly jiggly. It will set up firm overnight in the refrigerator as it cools.  And speaking of cooling, within 10 minutes from removing the cheesecake from the oven, run a smooth knife around the edges of the cheesecake.  The cheesecake will begin to shrink as it cools and if it is stuck to the pan sides, cracking will occur.  I do not release the sides of the spring form pan until completely cooled or the next day, unless specified in my recipe.  If a crack does appear, toppings will cover it up!

Triple Berry Cheesecake

Adapted from William Sonoma Cakes, Cupcakes and Cheesecakes

2 cups graham cracker crumbs

1 ¼ cup sugar, plus 3 tablespoons

½ cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled

2 lb. cream cheese, room temperature

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

2 tablespoonsChambord

4 eggs, room temperature

1 ½ cups sour cream

1/3 cup seedless raspberry preserves

1 cups strawberries, sliced

½ cup raspberries

½ cup blueberries or blackberries

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Place a baking pan filled with water on the bottom rack.

For the crust:  Combine crumbs, ¼ cup of sugar and melted butter.  Press firmly onto the bottom and sides (about 2 inches up) of a 9” springform pan.  Bake crust for 10 minutes and allow to cool.

For the filling:  In a large stand up mixer, combine the cream cheese, 1 cup of sugar, lemon juice and Chambord.  Beat until well blended.  Add the eggs one at a time, beating after each addition.  Pour into cooled crust.  Bake until edges are set, but still jiggly in the center, about one hour and 10 minutes. 

In a small bowl, stir together the sour cream and 3 tablespoons sugar.  Spoon over top of baked cheesecake.  Return to oven for another 5 minutes.  Transfer to rack to cool.  After 10 minutes, gently use a smooth knife to run along the inside of the pan to loosen the cheesecake from the sides.  Allow to cool completely and refrigerate overnight, uncovered. 

In a large sauté pan over medium heat, stir preserves until melted.  Remove from heat, add berries and toss to coat.  Mound berries atop cake.  Refrigerate 30 minutes.  Remove from springform pan.  Serves 12.

I love being in the kitchen. Early mornings, soft music, a hot espresso. Easing into the preparation of delicious meals. Glancing through cookbooks, gathering inspiration and planning my day. I look forward to the cycles of the seasons, the pleasures of tasting and savoring and sharing this with those dear to me. Weekends are special to me as my week days are often rushed, but still I create the ambiance, light the candles, set the table and uncork the wine.


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