Blueberry and Lemon Ricotta Cheesecake

12
60 minutes
30 minutes

This light and delicious cheesecake showcases some of the best of BC featuring local blueberries, eggs and dairy! The addition of ricotta (especially when paired with marscapone) gives it a lighter, more European flair than your classic baked cheesecakes.

Ingredients

Cheesecake

  • 4 large eggs, separated
  • 15 oz  (425 g) ricotta drained (see note)
  • 8 oz (250 g) cream cheese or mascarpone (see note)
  • 3/4 cup (150 g) granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp (5 ml) vanilla
  • 2 tsp (10 ml) lemon zest
  • 1 tsp (5 ml) lemon juice
  • 1/4 (1.5 ml) tsp salt

Blueberry Topping

  • 1 cup (250 ml) blueberries (about 150 grams or 5.3 oz)
  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) lemon juice, freshly squeezed
  • 2 tbsp (30 ml) water
  • 1/4 cup (60 ml or 50 g) sugar (see note)
  • 2 tsp (10 ml) tapioca starch or cornstarch (see note)

Instructions

Blueberry Topping

  1. Combine the blueberries, lemon juice, and sugar in a medium sauce pan over medium heat. Bring to a gentle boil, then reduce to a simmer. You may want to mash the berries slightly as they cook to release more juice.
  2. Whisk the tapioca starch with the water. Stir this mixture into the hot blueberry sauce, then set aside to cool.

Cheesecake

  1. Grease a 9-inch (23 cm) springform pan with butter. For added ease of removal, I like to line the bottom with a circle of parchment paper as well.
  2. Place a rack in the middle of your oven, then preheat to 325°F (163°C).
  3. In a clean stand mixer bowl (or large non-reactive bowl with a hand mixer), beat the egg whites until they are firm and holding their shape, but not forming stiff peaks. Remove the egg whites from the bowl and set them aside.
  4. Combine ricotta and egg yolks in a large mixing bowl. Optional: for a smoother cake texture, blend the ricotta with the egg yolks before moving to step 5.
  5. In the mixing bowl with the egg yolk and ricotta mixture, combine the remaining cake ingredients. Mix with a paddle mixer (or hand mixer beaters) until well-combined (don’t worry too much about small pieces of cream cheese that won’t mix in).
  6. Gently fold the whipped egg whites into the batter with a spatula. Pour the mixture into the greased springform pan and tap to level.
  7. Drizzle a few tablespoons of the blueberry sauce onto the top of the batter (try to use the more liquidy portion of the sauce for this). You can drag a small knife through the sauce for added decorative effect, if you like.
  8. Bake for 1 hour, or until browned at the edges and just barely set in the center. Turn off the heat and leave the cheesecake in the oven with the door closed for an additional 30 minutes. Remove the cake from the oven and cool on the counter for 10 minutes. Loosen the springform (run a knife around the outside if you’re concerned about sticking). Allow the cake to cool completely, then chill in the fridge overnight.
  9. Top the chilled cheesecake with the blueberry sauce, or serve individual slices with sauce on the top or the side.

Notes

Ricotta 
You can also make this cheesecake with well-drained homemade ricotta. However, for store-bought ricotta be sure to use a brand without binding agents (e.g. xanthan gum), as these can interfere with the baking process. Note that after very thorough draining, 425 grams of fresh ricotta (used in this recipe) weighs about 380 g (13.5 oz). If your ricotta is a bit wetter, you may need to increase your baking time somewhat.

Mascarpone vs. Cream Cheese
Either cheese can be used here with little difference to the baking process. Mascarpone is smoother and softer, and thus easier to mix. Cream cheese can be a bit chunkier, but still fairly simple to use. Baking differences are negligible. When made with cream cheese, the cake is tangier tasting – akin to a much lighter New York style. When made with mascarpone, the cake is soft and ‘cakier,’ with a more central-European taste (think German, Hungarian, and Italian cheesecakes).

Blueberries & Sugar
The actual amount of sugar you need here depends on both your personal tastes and the tartness of your blueberries. Our blueberries were particularly tart, so a bit of extra sugar was needed (especially given the fact that all the lemon juice further amps up that tartness). You could start with two tablespoons and work your way up.

Tapioca Starch
Tapioca starch is ideal for making pies and fruit sauces, as it thickens without adding opacity or any gritty texture. If you don’t have it, you can substitute a similar quantity of cornstarch  or potato starch.

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