RED, WHITE, and BLUE
Happy 4th of July! America's Independence Day! No not the day Will Smith beat the begeezers out of the aliens. It's the day recognized as the start of the United States - the original 13 Colonies, the rockets red glare, the bombs bursting in air.
For many of us, it is a day to celebrate family and friends with barbecues and fireworks. Everywhere you look you see American flags, red and white stripes, blue patches with white stars and images of all things American. I really enjoy this holiday. Growing up, we had block parties and LOTS of fireworks. Now that fireworks are banned most everywhere, we are forced to watch spine-tingling displays from professional "designers". While they are usually really beautiful, I miss holding a Sparkler; jumping out of my skin everytime a big Roman Candle went off and running away screaming while trying to avoid the spinning things on the ground! I feel sad for kids in my neighborhood these days - they don't get those experiences.
In honor of my childhood and of the day as it is recognized all over the country, I wanted to make a cheesecake that is very American - with California Soul.
Happy Birthday United States and to all of my friends, celebrate safely.
RED, WHITE, and BLUE CHEESECAKE
1-3/4 C 'Nilla Wafer crumbs (finely pulsed)
6 T Butter - softened
1/3 C Sugar
24 oz Cream Cheese (I use 1/3 fat variety "neufchatel")
1/4 C Sour Cream (I use "light" sour cream)
3 Eggs + 1 Yolk
1-1/2 C Sugar
2 T Flour
1 t Vanilla Extract
1 C Fresh Strawberries (pureed)
1T Red Food Coloring
1 C Blueberry glaze
2 C Fresh Blueberries
IT IS IMPORTANT THAT ALL INGREDIENTS BE AT ROOM TEMPERATURE
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Crust: Mix wafers, butter and sugar in a food processor until the consistency of wet sand. Put into 9" springform pan, pressing crumbs along bottom and sides. Bake 10 minutes. Remove and let cool on counter.
Filling: Mix cream cheese, sour cream, and sugar on medium for 2 minutes. Add eggs and yolk one at a time and combine completely. Add flour and vanilla. Pour 2 cups of mixture into another bowl and add strawberry puree and food coloring. Mix on low 30 seconds until the mixture is red in color.
Pour 1/2 of red mix into springform pan. Slowly pour about 1/2 of white mix into center. Slowly add remaining red mix. Top off (again slowly) with white mix. Carefully place in 350 degree oven for 1 hour. When hour passes, turn off heat and let cake remain in oven for 15 minutes (DO NOT OPEN OVEN). After 15 minutes, remove cake from oven. Let rest until room temperature.
While still in springform pan, top with an even layer of blueberry topping and cover evenly with fresh blueberries. Place in refrigerator for at least 4 hours to set.
Remove springform ring before cutting and serving.