Cheesecake with Apricot-Blueberry Sauce

Gray skies, raining, the wind wildly blowing today ... I know, I'll make a cheesecake! Creamy, not too sweet, slathered in apricot preserves, plum brandy and blueberries. Mmmmmm.


2 T. softened butter
1/2 c. graham cracker crumbs
(4) 8-oz. packages cream cheese, at room temperature
1 c. sugar
1 T. grated lemon rind
2 T. fresh lemon juice
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
4 large eggs

(1) 12-oz. jar apricot preserves
2 T. water
3 T. apricot brandy or plum brandy
1 c. blueberries

Preheat oven to 350-degrees.

Butter a 3- to 4-inch deep springform pan (or cake pan), sides and bottom. Add the graham cracker crumbs and shake the pan back and forth to coat the sides and bottom of the pan with the crumbs.

In a food processor, process the cheese, sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice, and vanilla extract for 20 seconds, or until well combined. Add the eggs and process for another 30 seconds, or until smooth. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth top with a spatula.

Place the cake on a roasting pan and put in the oven. Put a smaller pan with a few cups of water in it on the bottom shelf of the oven (adds a bit of a humid environment for the cheesecake while it's baking). Bake for about 45 minutes until golden and still jiggly in the middle. Turn off the heat, crack open the oven door and leave the cheesecake in the oven for about 40-60 minutes (if it looks like it's getting too brown, take it out of the oven sooner). Remove the cake from the oven and let cool for an hour, then remove the sides of the springform. Let cool for another hour, then invert onto a plate and put in the fridge for a few hours to cool.

For the sauce, combine the preserves, water and brandy in a bowl and mix until smooth. Add the blueberries.

Serve each slice of cheesecake with 2 to 3 tablespoons of sauce.

– Jacques Pepin, "Essential Pepin"