by Gabrielle Goyette
I have to admit, before making these blackberry beauties, I was very intimidated at the idea of making cheesecake. The Springform pans, the homemade crusts, those dreaded crevasses and cracks down your cake! So much could go wrong! I had resigned to eat store bought cheesecake for life – until I found the recipe for these simple Blackberry Cheesecake Squares.
All my fears were finally put to rest. The crust turned out to be just a few easy ingredients, the cake batter was a breeze to blend, and the topping simmered to perfection (Fun fact – the leftover topping is amazing with ice cream, too). Honestly, the hardest part was waiting two hours for the squares to cool. In the end, my Blackberry Cheesecake Squares turned out smooth, sweet, and get this – crack free!
Blackberry Cheesecake Squares
10 ounces (2 Sleeves) graham crackers
1/2 cup walnuts
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese, softened
1 – 1/2 cups sugar
1 – 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
4 whole eggs
1/2 cup sour cream
4 cups blackberries
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
2 tablespoons cornstarch
4 tablespoons water
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place a 9 x 13 inch pan (or other ovenproof pan) of hot water into the bottom rack.
For the crust, line a separate 9 x 13 inch baking pan with foil. Spray with cooking spray. In the bowl of a food processor, add the graham crackers and walnuts and pulse until they’re fine crumbs. Drizzle in melted butter, pulsing until it’s all incorporated. Pulse in the vanilla. Pour the crumbs into the prepared pan and press the crumbs firmly into an even layer. Set aside.
Beat cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla together until smooth. Add eggs one at a time, beating after each addition. Add sour cream and beat until incorporated. Pour the filling into the crust and smooth the surface. Bake for 45 minutes, then turn off the oven and leave the door closed for an additional 10 minutes. Finally, open the door halfway and leave it in the oven for an additional 10 minutes. Remove the cheesecake and let it cool completely.
For the topping, add blackberries, sugar, and 1/4 cup water to a saucepan. Bring it to a boil and cook until the juices thicken slightly, about 4-5 minutes. In a small bowl, mix the cornstarch with 4 tablespoons water, then add it to the berries. Let it boil for another 1 to 2 minutes, then turn off the heat and allow to cool. Pour the blackberries over the cheesecake and place the pan into the fridge to chill and set for at least 2 hours. When ready to serve, remove the cheesecake from the pan by lifting the edges of the foil. Peel back the foil and use a long serrated knife to cut cheesecake into squares.
Note: Put a pan of water in the oven with your cheesecake. The humidity helps avoid cracks. Recipe adapted from The Pioneer Woman.