New York cheesecake with blueberry compote

Homemade New York cheesecake with blueberry. PHOTO/COURTESY

What you need to know:

  • Recipe. You can make that New York-style cheesecake is a dense, soul satisfying kind of cheesecake for special occasions. 

During the roaring 1920s in America, photographs of leggy starlets were often called cheesecake. Do not be surprised if you hear someone refer to a sour cream cheesecake or a ricotta cheesecake as being ‘starlets.’

Regardless of that being the case, without a doubt this New York cheesecake is a starlet and this type of pastry being egg-based, it is critical that you closely watch temperatures while preparing. 

Cheesecakes need low temperature and are best left in the turned off oven with the door closed after baking. Expect a slight shrinkage as they cook. In the event that there is great shrinkage, you have baked them at too high heat. Incidentally, they all benefit thorough chilling before serving, preferably at least 12 hours and for safe and optimum storage, keep refrigerated lightly covered. 

When you are ready to bake your cheesecake, we find it a time-saver to put all the ingredients together in a blender, save for the egg whites or whipped cream, that should be folded in just before the mixture is poured into the crust. If smooth cottage cheese is not available, no sweat; regular curd cottage cheese may be put through a sieve or a blender. 

In case you cannot get hold of blueberries in town, no worries. There are several baking substitutes available including acai, blackberries, currants, gooseberries, grapes, huckleberries, passion fruit, pomegranates, raspberries and strawberries.

In case you wish to really be adventurous, I suggest a few wine-soaked currants or finely shaved almonds or even tiny pieces of angelica or citron are sometimes mixed with the filling or used as topping. Shaved curled chocolate may be added as a surface garnish. 

1.The first order of business is to make the base. Cream together the butter, sugar, salt and zest until the mixture is pale and fluffy before adding the egg and milk and mix thoroughly. Sift together the flour and baking powder and fold in gently making sure that you do not over mix. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the mixture to about 5cm (1/4 inch) thick and cut out 4 rounds to fit the base of 4 ring moulds six to seven centimetres (2 ½ - 2 ¾ inches) in diameter and six centimetres (2 ¼ inches) high. 

Alternatively, you are at liberty to use 4 individual rectangular moulds or a 24cm to 28cm (9 ½ - 11inch) round cake tin (pan). Place on a baking sheet and bake in an oven that is preheated to 160°C/325°F/Gas Mark 3 for about 15 minutes, until pale golden brown.

2.For the topping, combine the cream cheese, soured cream, salt, sugar, lemon juice and vanilla seeds in an electric mixer and beat on a low speed until everything is incorporated. Beat in the eggs, one at a time and then mix in the melted butter. Pour into the moulds and bake in the oven that is preheated to 180°C/350°F/Gas Mark four for 20 minutes or until set.  Remove from the oven and leave to on a wire rack.  

3.    To make the blueberry compote, combine the sugar, water, lemon juice, cinnamon and pepper in a saucepan and bring to a simmer. Add the blueberries and remove from the heat and leave to steep for one hour. 

Strain the liquid off the blueberries into a clean pan and simmer until reduced by two thirds. Pour the reduced cooking juices back over the blueberries and set aside. Turn the cheesecakes out of their moulds and serve accompanied by the blueberry compote.

 350g (1 ½ cups) cream cheese
  110ml (scant ½ cup) soured cream
  A pinch of salt
  125g (heaped ½ cup) castor (superfine) sugar
  1 ½ tablespoons lemon juice
  Seeds from ½ vanilla pod (vanilla bean)
  2 eggs
  30g (2 tablespoons) butter, melted
For the base:
 125g unsalted butter
 150g (3/4 cup) caster (superfine) sugar
 ½ teaspoon salt
 1 teaspoon grated orange zest
 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
 1 egg lightly beaten 
 2 tablespoons milk
 310g (2 ¼ cups) plain wheat flour Supreme is recommended 
 10g (1 tablespoon) baking powder
For the blueberry compote:
 75G (1/3 cup) caster (superfine) sugar
 2 tablespoons water
 1 ½ teaspoons lemon juice
 A small pinch of ground cinnamon 
 1 dash of freshly (preferably) ground black pepper
 225g (8oz) blueberries