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A&E >  Food

A sweet-tart treat for your Valentine

Blackberry Lime Cheesecake would be a  welcome ending to a Valentine’s Day dinner and takes less effort than you may think. (Associated Press)
Blackberry Lime Cheesecake would be a welcome ending to a Valentine’s Day dinner and takes less effort than you may think. (Associated Press)
Alison Ladman Associated Press

Cheesecake isn’t a terribly difficult dessert, it just requires a bit of attention to detail. This recipe is perfect for those who love sweet-tart desserts. It has a classic graham cracker crust and a rich and creamy berry cheesecake, all topped with a sweet-tart blackberry lime curd.

The recipe for the curd makes more than what you need for the cheesecake. That’s because it’s easier to make it in quantity. Leftovers are delicious on toast or waffles in place of jam, or spooned over vanilla ice cream.

Blackberry Lime Cheesecake

For the crust:

2/3 cup (2 ounces) graham cracker crumbs (about 5 whole crackers)

3 tablespoons butter, melted

1 tablespoon brown sugar

For the cheesecake:

16 ounce-package frozen blackberries, thawed 30 minutes at room temperature, divided

3/4 cup sugar, divided

16 ounces cream cheese (2 packages), room temperature

2 tablespoons flour

2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the curd:

2 eggs

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup lime juice

Finely grated zest from 2 limes

4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter, cut up

Fresh blackberries and mint leaves, to garnish

Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 6-inch springform pan with baking spray.

In a small bowl, use a fork to combine the graham cracker crumbs, melted butter and brown sugar. Press the mixture into the bottom of the prepared pan. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, or until golden around the edges. Set aside to cool. Leave the oven on.

Reserve 2/3 cup of the semi-thawed blackberries.

In a blender or food processor, combine the remaining blackberries with 1/4 cup of the sugar. Process or blend until pureed. Strain through a fine mesh strainer to remove the seeds. Set aside the puree.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the cream cheese, remaining 1/2 cup of sugar and the flour. Mix on low until combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, then mix some more. Do not mix any faster than medium-low; you don’t want to incorporate air into the mixture.

Add 1 egg, mix thoroughly and scrape the bowl. Add the second egg, mix and scrape again. Add the vanilla and mix one more time. Fold 1/2 cup of the blackberry puree and the reserved whole blackberries into the batter.

Transfer the batter to the crust. Bake for 10 minutes, then lower the temperature of the oven to 250 degrees and bake for another 30 minutes. The top of the cheesecake should be slightly puffed and spongy-firm to the touch. It should jiggle just slightly in the center when the pan is tapped. Let cool at room temperature for 1 hour, then refrigerate until completely chilled.

While the cheesecake bakes, make the blackberry-lime curd. In a medium stainless steel bowl, combine the eggs and sugar with a whisk. Add the remaining blackberry puree, the lime juice and lime zest.

Set the bowl over a medium saucepan of simmering water. The bowl should rest on the top edge of the pan without touching the water. Whisk the mixture continuously until it reaches 170 degrees. Remove from heat and add the butter, one piece at a time, whisking to combine. Press plastic wrap directly onto the surface of the curd and refrigerate until cool.

When ready to assemble the dessert, remove the springform pan sides. Run a spatula under the crust to remove the bottom of the pan. Transfer to a plate. Spoon the blackberry lime curd over the top of the cheesecake. Garnish with fresh blackberries and mint leaves and serve.

Yield: 6 servings

Nutrition information per serving: 672 calories; 383 calories from fat; 43 grams fat (26 grams saturated; 0 grams trans fats); 208 milligrams cholesterol; 64 grams carbohydrate; 11 grams protein; 4 grams fiber; 318 milligrams sodium.

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