Wild Blueberry Slab Cheesecake

This week, in classic mid-August Aimée style, I embarked on a few procrastibaking projects as a way to avoid my post-camping laundry and clean-up.

To be fair, I couldn’t wait to get back into the Simple Bites kitchen after a few weeks of travel. As is usually my custom when I road trip, I returned home with a stash of the most beautiful produce I encountered along the way.

This time I brought several pints of wild blueberries, for this Nova Scotia fruit grows wild all over the province and is free for the picking. Clara and I busied ourselves in a patch early one morning and produced enough for our buttermilk pancakes as well as a small store for the cooler.

Since then I’ve muddled a handful into a gin & tonic cocktail and topped a summer edition of my do-ahead muesli, but I saved the majority of them for a special baking project: cheesecake.

Summer cheesecakes, whether they are fruit-topped, jam-swirled or bathed in coulis, are a decadent way to showcase seasonal fruits and berries. For this recipe, I made a quick wild blueberry jam, cooled it, then swirled it into a creamy, vanilla New York-style cheesecake – my favourite.

Now seems like a good time to mention that, while I’m showcasing seasonal berries today, you can bookmark this recipe to make year-round, even when wild fruits are long gone. Just swirl in your favourite jam or fruit butter into the base recipe and keep it changing with the seasons.

The ingredient list is short and no springform pan is required, making this a relatively simple dessert – but with showstopper results.

The crust comes together with whatever sort of cookie crumbs you have on hand – chocolate, shortbread…ginger. I took the opportunity to finish off some crumbly graham crackers left over from camping and blitzed them in the food processor with a handful of gingersnap cookies.

For a very-berry experience, I topped the cheesecake with a few fresh blueberries, which adhere nicely to the jam, and served it up in two-bite squares.

Tips for a prefect cheesecake

When making a baked cheesecake, there are certain steps you can take in the kitchen to achieve a velvety texture with no cracks in the top.

  • Have all of the ingredients at room temperature to start. This will help to avoid having lumps of cream cheese during the mixing.
  • Don’t over mix the batter after adding the eggs. Beat the cream cheese good and well beforehand, but go gently with the eggs. Eggs hold air inside the batter which could cause the cheesecake to rise – and crack – during baking.
  • Don’t open the oven door during the baking process. Cracks in the surface can also be caused by temperature changes in the oven.
  • Don’t overbake the cheesecake. It’s best to have the middle of the cheesecake a bit wobbly when you gently shake the pan, unlike a regular cake! It will firm up as it cools, especially with an overnight chill.
  • If possible, let the cheesecake cool very slowly in the oven once it is turned off.
  • Lastly, allow plenty of chilling time before you attempt to slice the cheesecake. Use a hot knife and wash it clean before each slice.

If you do end up with cracks, don’t sweat it! You can always cover them with a little jam and a handful of fresh berries.

This Wild Blueberry Slab Cheesecake with a Gingersnap Crust makes plenty to share, as a small square is enough to satisfy any sweet tooth. It also freezes well, so make it in advance for Sunday dinner with friends.

Wild Blueberry Slab Cheesecake

For this recipe, I made a quick wild blueberry jam, cool it, then swirl it into a creamy, vanilla New York-style cheesecake – my favourite.
5 from 2 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Desserts
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 1 hour
Cook Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
Chilling Time: 12 hours
Total Time: 14 hours 10 minutes
Servings: 8 people
Calories: 275kcal

Ingredients

For the Jam

  • 1 1/4 cups wild blueberries divided
  • 3 Tablespoons cane sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons maple syrup
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice freshly squeezed

For the Crust

  • 1 cup gingersnap cookie crumbs
  • 4 Tablespoons butter melted

For the Filling

  • 2/3 cup cane sugar
  • 2 250g packages cream cheese
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 cup fresh blueberries for garnish

Instructions

For the Jam

  • Add the blueberries, sugar, maple syrup and lemon juice to a small heavy-bottomed pot and bring to a boil over medium heat. Simmer for 12 minutes, stirring frequently, until it thickens slightly and berries turn dark.
  • Remove jam from heat and cool. It should yield about 1/2 cup of jam.

For the Crust

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  • In a small bowl, combine the gingersnap crumbs with the melted butter.
  • Line a 9 x 5" loaf pan with parchment paper. Press the crumbs into the bottom of the pan.
  • Bake crust for 10 minutes, then cool completely on a wire rack.

For the Filling

  • Reduce the oven temperature to 300°F.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the sugar and cream cheese until smooth, about 2 minutes.
  • Crack the eggs into the mixer and add the vanilla. Stir on low speed until just barely combined.
  • Remove the paddle attachment, and stir in the sour cream with a spatula. Do not overmix.
  • Scrape the cheesecake filling into the cooled crust, and smooth out the top with your spatula.
  • Dot the cooled wild blueberry jam over the surface and use a butter knife to drag it through the batter, creating a swirled effect.
  • Place the pan in the centre of the oven, and bake for 60-70 minutes, or until the cake is mostly set, with a slight jiggle in the middle. Try not to open the oven door during the baking process.
  • Turn off the oven, open the door, and let the cake slowly cool in the oven for 15 minutes. This prevents cracking from cooling too quickly. Remove from oven and cool completely on a wire rack. Cover loosely and chill in the refrigerator overnight.
  • To serve – sprinkle fresh blueberries over top, cut into 2-inch squares, and serve.

Notes

For the cookies, use what you have on hand, such as chocolate cookies, shortbread cookies, or graham cracker crumbs.

Nutrition

Calories: 275kcal | Carbohydrates: 37g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 13g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Cholesterol: 78mg | Sodium: 149mg | Potassium: 81mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 29g | Vitamin A: 364IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 37mg | Iron: 1mg
About Aimee

Cooking has always been Aimée's preferred recreational activity, creative outlet, and source of relaxation. After nearly ten years in the professional cooking industry, she went from restaurant to RSS by trading her tongs and clogs for cookie cutters and a laptop, serving as editor here at Simple Bites. Her first book, Brown Eggs and Jam Jars - Family Recipes from the Kitchen of Simple Bites, was published in February 2015.

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Comments

  1. Looks gorgeous!! We always make a wild blackberry cheesecake for Jared’s birthday in late August as a hurrah to all things summer.

  2. 5 stars
    Nothing better than fresh Nova Scotian wild blueberries. What a great looking cheesecake!

  3. Pamela Bowles says

    Wow, gotta try this for Warren’s birthday at the end of August! I always make him my “famous” cheesecake recipe, but he has actually ok’d this one…deviation from his traditional birthday cake is unheard of around here, but these photos convinced him it’s worth a try! Can’t rate it yet as I haven’t made it yet, but can’t imagine it being anything but fabulous!!

    • Happy baking, Pamela – and happy birthday to Warren. 🙂

      • Pamela Bowles says

        5 stars
        So today was Warren’s birthday, and Kya (our 4-yr-old granddaughter) and I made your blueberry cheesecake as promised. Oh, wow! It is sooo delicious and Warren just loved it! I also thought it was way easier to make than the recipe I’ve used for 50 years (!). Thank you…this will be the new tradition on Aug 31 around here!! (And Warren says thanks for the birthday wishes…it was a happy one, indeed!

  4. lovely use of blueberries, love this cheesecake version, thank you

  5. I can’t wait to try this at our family BBQ this Saturday! Only, I’m going to substitute strawberries because…I love strawberries.

  6. I just made the recipe and it cracked like crazy and I thought I was careful to not over mix. But as my husband says who cares what it looks like as along as it tastes good.

    • Hey Alicia, That’s a tricky one! Did you open the oven door during baking? There are a few factors that can cause cracking. I hope you enjoyed it anyway. 🙂

  7. Absolutely amazing ! Keeper for cooler days ! Thank you so much and enjoy your day 🙂

  8. Every August I become entranced by wild blueberries. We literally eat them every day! This cheesecake looks incredible and I’m so sad I didn’t get to try a piece. Also love your styling with the blue and white props. My fave!

  9. I tried Wild Blueberry Slab Cheesecake recipe. My Son loved it. Thanks for this wonderful recipe.

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