Cheesecake with Apricot-Blueberry Sauce

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From the Essential Pépin tv series, Episode 105: Fine Finishes

This cheesecake recipe remains my wife’s favorite and also that of my brother, who discovered it on his first trip to America. It’s dense, rich, and yet delicate. I like it served cool, but not ice cold. The apricot-blueberry sauce is not only delectable, but looks stunning.

Don’t use frozen blueberries, which would bleed through the sauce.—Jacques Pépin

Serves 8 to 10

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup graham cracker crumbs
4 8-ounce packages cream cheese, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon grated lemon rind
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
4 large eggs


1 12-ounce jar apricot preserves
2 tablespoons water
3 tablespoons apricot brandy or plum brandy (Slivovitz)
1 cup blueberries

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

FOR THE CHEESECAKE: Butter a 3- to 4-inch deep 8-inch round cake pan or an 8-inch soufflé dish with the butter. Add the crumbs and shake the pan (best done over the sink), tipping it back and forth, to coat the sides and bottom of the pan with the crumbs.

Process the cheese, sugar, lemon zest and juice, and vanilla extract in a food processor for 20 seconds. Add the eggs and process for another 30 seconds, or until smooth. Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan.

Place the cake pan in a roasting pan and add enough lukewarm water to the roasting pan so that it reaches at least two thirds up the cake pan. Bake for 1 hour. (The water should not boil around the mold; if it does, add a few ice cubes to lower the temperature.) Turn off the oven and allow the cake to remain in the oven until lukewarm, about 1 hour.

Remove the cake from the oven and allow it to cool for a couple of hours before unmolding. (The cake can be refrigerated, covered, for several days.)

To unmold, place a round serving platter upside down on top of the pan and invert. If the cake is hard to unmold, the butter in the pan may have set, especially if the cake has been refrigerated. Dip the pan in hot water for a few seconds before inverting. Or, wrap the pan in a hot towel and wait for approximately 1 minute before lifting off the pan.

FOR THE SAUCE: Combine the preserves, water, and brandy in a bowl, mixing until smooth. Add the blueberries.

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

Copyright © 2011 by Jacques Pépin. Used by permission of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. All rights reserved.

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