This cheesecake is brilliantly white, creamy and fluffy with just the right amount of tang from the cream cheese, creme fraiche and lemon. All that, and no worrying about the top cracking as it bakes. I am now converted.
Related: Anna Olson’s Best Cheesecake Recipes
Baking a graham crust helps to set it. This unbaked crust relies on the set of chilled butter to get it to stay in place and slice without crumbling, so more butter is needed in this recipe than for a baked graham crust. If you wish to reduce the butter, use ¼ cup, bake the crust for 10 minutes at 350°F and cool completely before filling.
Creme fraiche is a French style of rich sour cream that has the same fat content as (or more fat than) whipping cream. Unfortunately, fat is the reason you cannot use regular sour cream. Part of the reason this cheesecake sets on its own is that the lemon juice reacts with the fat in the creme fraiche and whipping cream, thickening it and creating a creamy but sliceable cheesecake.
Adapted from Baking Day with Anna Olson, Appetite by Random House, 2020.
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For the crust
For the cheesecake
For the blueberry sauce
Lightly grease a 9-inch springform pan and line the bottom and sides with parchment paper.
For the crust, combine the graham cracker (or gluten-free or egg-free) crumbs and melted butter and press firmly into the bottom of the pan. Chill for an hour, or freeze while preparing the filling.
For the cheesecake, using electric beaters or a stand mixer fitted with the whip attachment, whip the cream until it holds a soft peak. Chill until ready to use.
Using electric beaters or a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese at medium-high speed until light and fluffy, scraping down the sides of the bowl a few times. Add the icing sugar ¼ cup at a time, beating well (start on slow and increase to medium) and scraping well after each addition. Beat in the creme fraiche, lemon juice and vanilla and beat until smooth.
Add the whipped cream to the cream cheese and fold in by hand. Pour the cheesecake filling (it will be pourable but will set up once chilled) over the chilled crust and refrigerate, uncovered, for at least 6 hours, ideally overnight.
For the blueberry sauce, bring the blueberries, sugar and lemon juice up to a simmer over medium heat, stirring occasionally, cooking until the blueberries are soft and tender, about 10 minutes. Whisk the cornstarch with 2 tablespoons of cold water and add this to the blueberries, stirring and returning to a simmer until the sauce has thickened and is glossy. Set aside to cool to room temperature and then chill completely.
Serve the cheesecake with a generous spoonful of blueberry sauce. The whole cheesecake will keep, uncovered, in the fridge for up to 3 days. Leftovers should be loosely covered and refrigerated.