It’s getting to be the time of year again for blackberries. The wild ones that grow all around my little island won’t be ready for a while longer, but my local market is starting to carry the farm raised ones now. Until I can walk up the road to pick some, I will have to use the store bought variety for this Cheesecake with Blackberry Lavender Swirl.
In my corner of the world, berries and lavender are a big deal. I live near two large lavender farms, and I am surrounded by berries. Since cheesecake is appropriate any time of year, I felt it only fitting to combine them all into one lovely dessert. If you are looking for more recipes utilizing blackberries, my Salad With Fried Goat Cheese is a great one!
One of the long list of things I love about cheesecake is its versatility. You can add just about anything you want to the batter. It can become sweet, savory, citrus, chocolate, or anything else you can imagine. For this particular cheesecake, I wanted a fresh milky flavor that would not compete too much with the swirl, so I didn’t add any citrus zest or vanilla extract that are rather common in plain cheesecakes. There will be extra Blackberry Lavender Sauce left over, so feel free to top your slice of cheesecake with some. I don’t think you could ever have too much!
If you don’t happen to have any sour cream on hand, you can substitute creme fraiche! You can make creme fraiche very easily in your own kitchen, and in my post How to Make Creme Fraiche I show you just how easy it is!
There are a couple of things that I believe intimidate most people about baking cheesecakes. The first: cracks. The second: a water bath. The latter is typically used to prevent the former. But I am here to tell you it doesn’t have to be this way. There are other ways to prevent cracks. The first one: make sure that all of your cold ingredients such as dairy and eggs are at room temperature before you start to mix your batter. This ensures that your ingredients are properly incorporated, and proper blending can go a long way toward preventing cracks. You might be asking yourself, why do I care? I can just put lemon curd or some sort of sauce on top. Well, this is very true. However, if I am going to go to the trouble of making a cheesecake, I might as well take extra steps to see that the top doesn’t look like the Grand Canyon.
Bake it Low and Slow
The second thing you can do to keep those cracks at bay: cook your cheesecake low and slow. Don’t let the long bake time get you down, its worth it. You can let this bake while you relax and watch a movie, or do some household chores. I wouldn’t recommend leaving it in the oven while you run errands, but there are things you can do while this cooks to pass the time. Something I love about this cooking method is that at such a low temperature, it is not going to heat up your house the way a much higher bake temp will. I prefer a cool house when the weather is warm.
Try Something New
If you have never made a cheesecake before, I really encourage you to give it a try. You may just impress yourself with your abilities. If you want to cook this without the swirl and just serve the sauce on top, you most certainly can! The cooking method and instructions don’t change, except for leaving out the step of adding the swirl. So now that blackberry season is upon us, do something good for yourself. Go berry picking, and make this Cheesecake with Blackberry Lavender Swirl!
For the Crust
- 10 Graham Crackers
- 2 tbsp Granulated Sugar
- 4 Tbsp Unsalted Butter, melted
For the Swirl
- 2 cups Fresh Blackberries
- 1/ 2 cup sugar
- Pinch of Salt
- 1 Tbsp Cornstarch
- 1 Tbsp Cold Water
- 2 tsp culinary Lavender Buds
For the Cheesecake
- 3 8oz bricks Cream Cheese
- 1 1/2 cups Granulated Sugar
- Pinch of Salt
- 1 cup Whole Milk Ricotta
- 1/2 cup Full Fat Buttermilk
- 3 Extra Large Eggs
- 1/2 cup of Blackberry Lavender Sauce for the Swirl
For the Crust
- Heat oven to 350 degrees. In the bowl of a food processor on low using the blade attachment, process the graham crackers, pinch of salt, and 2 tbsp of sugar until the graham crackers are finely ground.
- Add the 2 tbsp of melted butter and pulse until combined, and scrape the mixture into a 9 inch springform pan.
- Use your fingers or a heavy glass to press the crumbs tightly into the pan, going up the sides about an inch.
- Bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown.
For the Swirl
- On medium heat in a small saucepan, cook 2 cups of blackberries with a pinch of salt and 1/2 cup of sugar, stirring regularly, for 5 minutes.
- In a small bowl, stir together 1 tbsp of cold water and 1 tbsp cornstarch. Add to blackberry mixture and cook for 5 more minutes.
- Remove saucepan from heat and add 2 tsp culinary lavender buds and stir well. Put mixture in a tightly covered container and refrigerate until cool.
For the Cheesecake
- Heat oven to 250 degrees. Make sure your eggs, cream cheese, buttermilk, and ricotta are all room temperature before beginning.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat cream cheese, salt, and 1 1/2 cups sugar on medium until light and fluffy, about 3-5 minutes.
- Add ricotta and beat two more minutes, then add buttermilk and continue beating another minute or so, until well combined.
- While the mixer is still running, add eggs one at a time, allowing the mixer to run for a few seconds between additions.
- Using a rubber scraper, pour the batter into the pre-baked crust.
- Next, put 1/2 cup of the blackberry mixture over the top in small scoops, reserving the remaining sauce to serve on top, and use a butter knife to swirl the topping around.
- Tightly wrap the springform pan in aluminum foil, and bake for 90 minutes, then remove foil and bake an additional 90 minutes, or until the center jiggles only slightly and the outside appears set. Refrigerate several hours or overnight.
- Use a knife run under hot water to go around the edges of the cake before unlatching the pan, and use a knife or dental floss to slice.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 898Total Fat: 44gSaturated Fat: 25gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 15gCholesterol: 189mgSodium: 574mgCarbohydrates: 117gFiber: 3gSugar: 102gProtein: 14g