I made my first cheesecake this last fall (pumpkin, how seasonally-appropriate) and thought I would give it another try. I had two, giant freezer bags full of blackberries from Matt’s parents’ yard that I had been meaning to cook with for a while, and dessert seemed to be a fitting way to put them to use! The result was a rustic blackberry cheesecake, created from a hodge-podge of recipes, a majority of which I deviated from, cutting down on the sugar content (don’t get me wrong, this is by no means a healthy recipe. And I am totally okay with that.)
Cheesecake is not a quick process–the cool-down time is crucial to the texture and consistency of this dessert. I like to make cheesecake the night before it’s serve-time so there’s plenty of time for it to rest and firm up in the fridge. This blackberry cheesecake bakes for about 1 hour 20 minutes, then cools for 4 or more hours total.
Block out an evening to bake and you’ll be rewarded the next day with a fresh, homemade dessert in your fridge. The time is completely worth it! I love this blackberry cheesecake recipe–it’s tangy and bright, and the blackberries add a rich sweetness that really makes the whole dessert pop.
I mean, just look at that slice. I’m ready for a piece right now.
Rustic Blackberry Cheesecake
Prep time: 40 – 50 minutes
Bake time: 1 hour 20 minutes
Cool time: 5 hours (or overnight)
- Springform cake pan
- Large and medium mixing bowls
- Electric hand mixer
- Optional: Food processor or Vitamix
- 2 cups blackberries
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
- 1 and 1/2 cup graham crackers
- 3 tablespoons melted, unsalted butter
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 3 packets cream cheese (8 oz. each) at room temperature
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 4 eggs
- 1 cup sour cream
- 2 teaspoons lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
Pre-heat the oven to 325 F.
Start by making the blackberry topping:
- Add the blackberries, sugar, lemon juice, and lemon zest to a medium saucepan on medium heat.
- Stir while cooking for 15 – 20 minutes until the berries are broken down.
- If you don’t like blackberry seeds, strain them out at this point in a fine-mesh strainer.
- Let the blackberry topping come to a boil while stirring constantly. The topping will start to thicken. You can add a pinch of cornstarch if your sauce isn’t thickening, or a splash of water if it’s too gummy. You’re aiming for a slightly runny, sauce consistency.
- Let it boil for about 1 minute while stirring.
- Remove from heat and let it cool in the pan.
Then make the crust:
- Add the graham crackers to a food processor (I used my Vitamix) and pulse on low until they’ve broken down into small crumbs. If you don’t have a food processor, you can just crush the graham crackers in their wrapper with a rolling pin.
- Pour your graham cracker crumbs into a mixing bowl and add the 3 tablespoons of melted butter. Stir to combine.
- Add 1 teaspoon cinnamon and stir to combine. The final mix will look a little bit wet.
- Pour your mixture into the bottom of a springform cake pan and spread it evenly on the bottom, then press to pack the crust evenly along the sides of the pan and throughout the middle.
- Bake the crust for 10 minutes, then take it out of the oven to let it cool.
And finally the cheesecake:
- In a large mixing bowl, add the 3 packets of room-temperature cream cheese. Using the hand mixer, beat the cream cheese until it’s smooth and slightly fluffy.
- Add 1 cup sugar and 1 teaspoon vanilla and continue to beat until incorporated.
- Add the 4 eggs, one at a time, and continue to beat the mixture until everything is mixed together.
- Add 1 cup sour cream, 2 teaspoons lemon juice, and 1 teaspoon of lemon zest to the mixture. Combine using the hand mixer. The final mix will be runny.
- Pour your mixture into the springform pan, on top of the crust.
- Pour the blackberry topping over the top of the cheesecake evenly, then using a knife, lightly swirl the blackberry mixture until it covers the top of the cheesecake.
- Place a sheet of aluminum foil over the springform pan and bake at 325 F for 1 hour 20 minutes.
- Check on the cheesecake at 1 hour 20 minutes and jiggle the pan slightly. The cheesecake is done when only the center jiggles a little–the edges of the cheesecake shouldn’t jiggle. Bake the cheesecake for increments of 2-5 minutes if it’s not quite done at 1 hour 20 minutes.
- When the cheesecake is done, turn the oven off and open the door of the oven. Let the cheesecake cool down gradually in the oven for an hour and a half, then move it to the fridge for at least 4 hours, or, preferably, overnight.