A Rustic Blackberry Cheesecake Recipe

The Northwest Woman | Rustic Blackberry Cheesecake

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.)

The Northwest Woman | Rustic Blackberry Cheesecake

The Northwest Woman | Rustic Blackberry Cheesecake

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.

The Northwest Woman | Rustic Blackberry Cheesecake

The Northwest Woman | Rustic Blackberry Cheesecake

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.

The Northwest Woman | Rustic Blackberry Cheesecake

The Northwest Woman | Rustic Blackberry Cheesecake

The Northwest Woman | Rustic Blackberry Cheesecake

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)

Equipment: 

  • Springform cake pan
  • Large and medium mixing bowls
  • Electric hand mixer
  • Optional: Food processor or Vitamix

Ingredients:

Blackberry topping

  • 2 cups blackberries
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest

Crust

  • 1 and 1/2 cup graham crackers
  • 3 tablespoons melted, unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon

Cheesecake

  • 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:

  1. Add the blackberries, sugar, lemon juice, and lemon zest to a medium saucepan on medium heat.
  2. Stir while cooking for 15 – 20 minutes until the berries are broken down.
  3. If you don’t like blackberry seeds, strain them out at this point in a fine-mesh strainer.
  4. 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.
  5. Let it boil for about 1 minute while stirring.
  6. Remove from heat and let it cool in the pan.

Then make the crust:

  1. 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.
  2. Pour your graham cracker crumbs into a mixing bowl and add the 3 tablespoons of melted butter. Stir to combine.
  3. Add 1 teaspoon cinnamon and stir to combine. The final mix will look a little bit wet.
  4. 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.
  5. Bake the crust for 10 minutes, then take it out of the oven to let it cool.

And finally the cheesecake:

  1. 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.
  2. Add 1 cup sugar and 1 teaspoon vanilla and continue to beat until incorporated.
  3. Add the 4 eggs, one at a time, and continue to beat the mixture until everything is mixed together.
  4. 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.
  5. Pour your mixture into the springform pan, on top of the crust.
  6. 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.
  7. Place a sheet of aluminum foil over the springform pan and bake at 325 F for 1 hour 20 minutes.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.

Enjoy!

Photos by Matthew Land.

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