This dessert is just wonderful made with fresh, wild blueberries that grow so abundantly in Newfoundland. But we used to make it with frozen berries as much or more than the fresh berries. Don and I (mostly Don, he's a wonderful berry picker) pick quite a few blueberries each summer and freeze them for the long, cold winter months when the price of a fresh blueberry would strain the coffers of the filthy rich. But yesterday as I was doing a bit of shopping for Nan Gill I spied a tiny little container of cultivated berries marked down to $1. As this dessert was playing on my mind the last few weeks I reached for the berries and the rest is history. I made the dessert today with those berries, throwing in a couple of handfuls of frozen ones to make up the amount needed. The recipe makes a large pan but the ingredient amounts can easily be cut in half and made in an 8- or 9-inch pan.
This dessert can actually be made without any added sugar as the Cool Whip and graham cracker crumbs have some sweetening power. Violet doesn't add the sugar and likes it that way but I find it doesn't quite hit the spot for a dessert. But if you are trying to cut back on sugar or the doctor frowns when he sees your lab results feel free to try it without the ½ cup sugar or use something like Splenda to take the sugar's place. But as for me and my house, we will have the sugar. (Unless we start to get frowns.)
Blueberry Cheesecake Dessert
2 cups graham wafer crumbs
½ cup melted butter
Mix the wafer crumbs and melted butter together. Remove a ¼ cup of crumbs for the top. Pat remaining crumbs in a 9x13-inch pan. Refrigerate while making the filling.
1- 8 ounce package cream cheese, room temperature
½ cup white sugar
½ teaspoon lemon juice
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 large tub Cool Whip or 4 cups whipped topping or stabilized whipped cream*
3 cups fresh or well drained frozen blueberries
Mix cream cheese, sugar, lemon juice and vanilla. Cream together well until fluffy. Fold in Cool Whip. Gently add the blueberries. Pour over crumb base. Sprinkle reserved crumbs on top. Refrigerate for several hours or overnight.
Makes 12-15 servings.
*Stabilized Whipped Cream may take the place of the Cool Whip and would make this dessert quite decadent and rich tasting. You would need to sweeten the cream or add sugar to the dessert if using as cream is not sweet like Cool Whip. To make 4 cups stabilized whipped cream you will need:
1 teaspoon plain gelatin (found in the baking aisle)
2 tablespoons cold water
2 cups cold heavy whipping cream
Sprinkle 1 teaspoon of plain gelatin into 2 tablespoons of cold water. Wait 5 minutes to let the gelatin bloom or swell. After 5 minutes microwave the mixture 5-10 seconds until everything is completely dissolved. Cool this mixture but don't let it set.
Mix ¼ cup of the unwhipped cream into the cooled gelatin and set aside but do not let set. It should remain liquid. If it starts to set up, microwave it a few seconds to keep it liquid.
In a bowl, whip the remaining cream until it just starts to foam. Add the cooled gelatin mixture to the cream in a steady stream, while continuously beating. Whip until soft peaks are formed.
Use as Cool Whip in this recipe.
Mix the graham wafer crumbs with the melted butter.
Save out a ¼ cup of crumbs for the top.
A good way to ensure the crumbs are pressed in evenly is to use the flat bottom of a measuring cup.
Beat the cream cheese, sugar, lemon juice and vanilla together until nice and fluffy. Make sure your cream cheese is at room temperature.
I usually use a liquid whipped topping like this Nutriwhip.
In Canada, a large tub of Cool Whip is 1 litre or 4 cups.
Add the whipped topping to the cream cheese mixture and fold together. Gently mix in the berries and spread over the graham wafer crust.
Sprinkle the reserved crumbs over the top of the cheesecake.
Refrigerate for several hours or overnight before cutting.
A taste of summer!