Baked Bilberry Cheesecake
Wild cousins of the cultivated blueberry, bilberries have so much more fragrance and flavour. They are also rather delicate, so take care when picking and transporting them home – and if you want to avoid your cheesecake being dyed a uniform purple we suggest you put your bilberries into the freezer overnight. Even then, you need to stir the frozen berries into the batter at the very last minute and as gently as possible to avoid bursting them. The result is well worth the extra care: a luscious, creamy cheesecake marbled with tangy berries and patches of purple juice.
At the risk of testing your patience, you should know the cheesecake will slice better if left to chill for a few hours or overnight before serving.
- 350g bilberries
- 100g digestive biscuits
- 40g unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing
- 250g full-fat cream cheese
- 250g ricotta
- Zest of 1 lemon
- Juice of ½ lemon
- 2 eggs
- 100g caster sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon flour
- Wash the berries as gently as you can and leave them to drain. Put them into a plastic box and freeze them overnight.
- The next day, butter the inside of a 23cm springform cake tin. Finely crush the biscuits and melt the butter in a small pan over a low heat. Add the crushed biscuits and stir well to evenly combine. Press into an even layer in the base of the tin and chill while you make the filling.
- Preheat the oven to 180˚C. Sieve the cream cheese and ricotta into a large bowl. Add the lemon zest, lemon juice, eggs, sugar and vanilla. Beat together to make a smooth batter.
- Remove the bilberries from the freezer and toss them in the flour. Lightly fold the bilberries into the batter, then pour it over the chilled biscuit base, giving the tin a gentle shake to level.
- Bake for 50–60 minutes until the cheesecake is just set. Turn off the oven, prop the door ajar, and leave the cheesecake in the oven to cool completely.
- Transfer to the fridge and chill for at least 2 hours before removing the outer ring of the tin and cutting the cheesecake into wedges to serve.
Recipe and photos by Otherwise for Wild Food UK