A Lemon on the Branch
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Marcel Desaulnier's
Lemon Blueberry Cheesecake



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"I feel the end approaching.
Quick, bring me my dessert, coffee and liqueur."

- Brillat-Savarin's great aunt Pierette

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Bowl of Blueberries
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Unangst, Andrew
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Lemon Blueberry Cheesecake
Desserts to Die For

by Marcel Desaulniers, 1995, Simon & Schuster


The Chef’s Touch

"A cheesecake dessert is an indulgence that even the most health-conscious
people seem to justify. My theory is that cheesecake lovers are a bit like
chocolate lovers – they are easily seduced. And this Lemon Blueberry
Cheesecake is worth falling for. The balance of sweetness and acidity
combined with the textural contrast between the velvety batter and the
sprightly berry produces extraordinary sensations in your mouth.
One whole medium-size lemon should yield 2 to 21/2 teaspoons of minced
lemon zest. Use a sharp vegetable peeler to zest the citrus fruit. Be careful
to remove only the colored skin and not the bitter pith that lies directly
beneath the skin. After removing the colored skin with a vegetable peeler,
cut it into thin strips with a very sharp cook’s knife. Mince the thin strips
with the cook’s knife.
Preparation of the cheesecake may be spread out over two days or more. The
cookies may be baked and kept in the freezer for several days before using.
For an even quicker start out of the gate, set up the springform pan with the
cookie crumbs, cover the pan with plastic wrap, and keep it in the freezer
for one or two days before using.
After assembly, the cheesecake may be kept in the refrigerator for two to three
days. If you love blueberries as much as I do, you may want to sprinkle
additional berries onto each dessert plate before serving. Otherwise I
suggest no other accompaniments.
Once you have tasted this dessert you will understand why it needs no embel-
lishment, although with a little coaxing, I could enjoy a rich and lively
Château Rieussec Sauternes.

Citrus Shortbread Cookie Crust:
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
12 Citrus Shortbread Cookies (recipe follows)

Lemon Blueberry Cheesecake:
1 1/2 pounds cream cheese
2 cups granulated sugar
2 teaspoons minced lemon zest
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 large eggs
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
1 cup fresh blueberries,
stemmed and washed

Sour Cream and Blueberry Topping:
1/4 cup sour cream
2 teaspoons granulated sugar
2 cups fresh blueberries,
stemmed and washed

Prepare the Citrus Shortbread Cookie Crust:
Preheat oven to 250 degrees F. Place a 9-by-1 1/2-inch cake pan partially
filled with 4 cups of hot water on the bottom rack of the oven (the bottom
rack should be at least 3 inches below the center rack). Coat the inside of a
9-by-3-inch springform pan with 1 tablespoon melted butter. Set aside. In
a food processor fitted with a metal blade, chop the cookies in two batches.
Pulse each batch until all the cookies are in crumbs (the total should yield
2 cups crumbs). Transfer the crumbs to a 2-quart bowl. Combine the
cookie crumbs with 2 tablespoons melted butter. Mix by hand until the crumbs bind together. Press the crumbs around the buttered sides of the springform pan, then onto the buttered bottom of the pan. Place the pan
in the freezer until needed.

Make the Lemon Blueberry Cheesecake:
Place cream cheese, sugar and lemon zest in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle. Beat on low until smooth, about 3 minutes. Scrape
down the sides of the bowl. Add flour, cornstarch, vanilla, and salt. Beat
on medium for 2 minutes. Scrape down sides of bowl. Add 2 eggs and beat on low speed for 2 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the remaining 4 eggs and beat on medium for 2 minutes. Once again, scrape down the sides of the bowl (all this mixing and scraping creates a beautifully smooth cheesecake), Add lemon juice and mix on low for 1 minute. Remove the bowl from the mixer. Use a rubber spatula to finish mixing the batter
until it is smooth and thoroughly combined. Pour the cheesecake batter into the prepared springform pan, spreading evenly. Place the springform pan onto a baking sheet with sides (the pan will remain on the baking sheet throughout the baking and cooling). Sprinkle 1 cup blueberries over the top
of the batter. The weight of the blueberries should cause them to sink to various depths in the batter (if the berries do not sink, distribute them with
a little more force - somewhere between a sprinkle and a pitch). Place the baking sheet with the springform pan on the center rack of the preheated oven and bake for 1 hour. Lower the oven temperature to 225 degrees F.
and bake for 1 hour. Reduce the oven temperature to 200 degrees F. and bake the cheesecake until the internal temperature of the cheesecake filling reaches 175 degrees F., about 1 1/2 hours. (The timing depends on how frequently you peek at the cheesecake. If you open the oven door more
often than necessary, it may take an additional 30 minutes or more for the filling to reach the desired temperature.) Remove the cheesecake from the oven and cool on the baking sheet at room temperature for 1 hour. Refrigerate the cheesecake for 12 hours (do not remove the cake from
the pan) before proceeding.

Prepare the Sour Cream and Blueberry Topping:
Combine sour cream and sugar in a small bowl and whisk until smooth.
Release the cheesecake from the sides of the springform pan. (If the cake
does not immediately separate, wrap a damp, hot cotton towel around the sides of the pan. Make sure the towel covers the sides completely. Hold
the towel around the pan for about 1 minute, then carefully release and remove the springform pan.) If top crust of the cheesecake is not level,
trim with a serrated knife. Use a cake spatula to spread the sour cream mixture over the top of the cake, spreading evenly to the edges. Neatly arrange the blueberries on top of the sour cream. Refrigerate for 30
minutes before cutting and serving.

To serve:
Heat the blade of a serrated slicer under hot running water and wipe the
blade dry before cutting each slice. Serve immediately. 10 to 12 servings.


Citrus Shortbread Cookies

The Chef’s Touch

‘This cookie was born from the search for an appropriate biscuit to use as a crust for our Lemon and Blueberry Cheesecake. Not only does this recipe yield exactly the amount of cookie crumbs needed to prepare the cheesecake crust, it is also perfect for the crust for My Cherry Clafouti. If you fall in love with these little beauties as I have and enjoy eating them au naturel, I suggest doubling the recipe.
Use a sharp vegetable peeler to zest the citrus fruit. Be careful to remove only
the colored skin and not the bitter pith that lies directly beneath the skin. After removing the colored skin with a vegetable peeler, cut it into thin strips with a
very sharp cook’s knife. Mince the thin strips with the cook’s knife.
For most people a cool glass of lemonade would be the perfect accompaniment
for the Citrus Shortbread Cookies. My preference after dinner, however, would
be a more gratifying dry Sherry or a Madeira."

1/4 pound unsalted butter
5 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon minced lemon zest
1 teaspoon minced orange zest
1 teaspoon orange-flavored liqueur
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt

Make the cookies:
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.
Place the butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle. Beat on medium for 2 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the
bowl. Beat on high for 3 minutes, until the butter is light (but not fluffy).
Add the minced lemon and orange zest and the orange-flavored liqueur.
Beat on high for 30 seconds. Operate the mixer on low while gradually
adding the flour and salt, and mix for 1 minute. Remove the bowl from
the mixer and use a rubber spatula to finish mixing the dough, until
thoroughly combined.
Wrap the dough in plastic wrap. Roll the dough on a flat surface to form
a 6-inch-long and 1 1/2-inch-in-diameter cylinder. Place the dough in the refrigerator for 1 hour and 30 minutes.
Remove the dough from the refrigerator and discard the plastic wrap.
Cut the dough into 12 individual 1/2-inch-thick slices. Divide the slices
onto two baking sheets. Place the baking sheets onto the center rack
in the preheated oven and bake for 16 to 18 minutes, until lightly
browned around the edges. Halfway through the baking time, rotate
each baking sheet 180 degrees. Remove the cookies from the oven
and cool to room temperature on the baking sheets, about 20 minutes.
The cooled cookies may be stored in a tightly sealed plastic container
for several days at room temperature, or for several weeks in the

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