Today’s dessert recipe is my favorite cheesecake recipe of all time: Red, White, and Blueberry Cheesecake Tart from the July/August 2007 issue of Everyday Food. Last year, I think I made it five times in a span of two months for various dinner guests… It is SO incredibly good.
A 9-inch removable-bottom tart pan is essential for this recipe. (I got mine at Crate and Barrel.) To make the crust, I put 6 graham crackers (2 1/2 x 5 inches each), 1/3 cup of whole almonds, and 1/4 cup of sugar in my Cuisinart Mini Prep food processor and processed the mixture until it was finely ground. Next, I added 4 tablespoons of melted unsalted butter and processed until the crumbs were moistened. I poured the crumbs into the tart pan and used the bottom of a dry measuring cup to press them firmly into the bottom and sides of the pan. I put the crust into the freezer to sit for 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, I made the cheesecake filling. I wiped the food processor blade and bowl clean and then added 2 bars of reduced-fat cream cheese (room temperature), 1/2 cup of reduced-fat sour cream, 1/2 cup of sugar, 1 large egg (room temperature), 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract, and a pinch of salt. I blended the mixture just until it was smooth, stopping once to scrape down the sides of the bowl. I took the tart pan out of the freezer, placed it on a baking sheet, and filled the crust with the cheesecake mixture. The recipe said to bake until the filling was just set, which was supposed to take 30 – 35 minutes. Mine was firm and starting to puff at the edges at 26 minutes, so I took it out early. I transferred the tart to a wire rack to cool completely.
While the tart cooled, I made the topping. In a medium saucepan, I combined 4 red plums (halved, pitted, and cut into 1/2-inch dice), 1/2 cup of sugar, and 1 tablespoon of fresh lemon juice. I cooked the mixture at a rapid simmer over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, for about 20 minutes. (The recipe says it’s done when the mixture “is jamlike and moves around the pan in a single mass when stirred.” I wasn’t sure what to expect, but you really do get to a point where one stir will put the entire mixture in motion, as opposed to stirring individual plum pieces.) I reserved 1 tablespoon of the cooking liquid to toss with blueberries and set the rest of the plum mixture aside to cool.
Once the tart and the topping had cooled, I spread plum mixture over the top of the tart. (It looks a lot prettier when you leave a 1-inch border all around, but I kind of overdid it this time.) I briefly reheated the reserved plum liquid in the microwave until it was liquefied, tossed it with 1 cup of blueberries, and scattered the berries on top of the plum mixture. I chilled the cheesecake for several hours before serving (2 hours would be the minimum); it can be made up to 1 day ahead, if necessary.
Good heaven, this is amazing. The plum topping seems a bit tart if you try it on its own, but it’s an ideal complement for the sweetness of the cheesecake. And don’t even get me started on the crust. It’s buttery, almond-y perfection. It’s pretty firm and it cuts well, too, which makes serving a breeze. Would anyone like to come to dinner soon? I need an excuse to make another one of these… :)
TIPS: It takes about 2 hours for the tart to cool completely after baking, so plan accordingly. Also, there are a few “excesses” in this recipe, at least in my opinion. There ends up being way more plum topping than you need to top the tart. (That’s probably part of the reason I overdid it!) It’s really yummy, though, and would be heavenly over vanilla ice cream. Also, unless you want to *cover* the top of the tart in blueberries, you really only need to toss 1 cup of them with the plum liquid, not 2 cups.
Recipe link: Red, White, and Blueberry Cheesecake Tart