Garden-Fresh Raspberry Cheesecake

Fresh-picked raspberries are practically synonymous with summer – I personally have so many memories picking raspberries over the course of my lifetime, and in a subsequent post, I’ll share just why this tiny little red berry is so incredibly meaningful to me.  Whether eaten off the plant, thrown into a delicious Italian fruit salad (called Macedonia), or incorporated into your favorite dessert, the sweet flavor and distinct taste of fresh raspberries turns the ordinary into extraordinary.

Here’s my take on an American classic, the cheesecake.  Unlike some styles of this rich dessert, my recipe is for a lighter, but still very creamy cheesecake with a sweet & tart raspberry layer.

Garden-Fresh Raspberry CheesecakeIMG_3008

i.n.g.r.e.d.i.e.n.t.i. (ingredients)IMG_2995

2 8-oz. pkgs. cream cheese

1 cup granulated sugar

2 eggs

zest of 1 lemon

2 1/2 cups fresh raspberries

1 tbsp. caster sugar

Mulino Bianco ‘Abbracci’ Cookies (or your favorite cookie)

p.r.o.c.e.d.a.m.e.n.t.i. (directions)

Begin by greasing a 9 3/4″ springform pan (you can use 8″, but it may require longer baking), and layering the bottom with a single layer of Mulino Bianco “Abbracci” cookies or similar.

IMG_2996

These are a dry, thick cookie – get cray and try your favorite.  This layer absorbs moisture and reminds me of a ‘cake-like’ texture (you can also use your favorite graham cracker crust recipe for a more traditional cheesecake).  Cover the bottom of the pan with aluminum foil, and place into an appropriate roasting pan to allow for a ‘bain-marie’ (water bath).  Preheat oven to 325 F.

Add the lemon zest and tbsp. of caster sugar to the raspberries.  Mix until well incorporated.IMG_2997 IMG_2999

Mix the cream cheese, granulated sugar, and two eggs for about 4 minutes, until fluffy. IMG_3001

Spread half of the cream cheese mixture over the cookies.

IMG_3002Gently spoon and spread the raspberry mixture over the cream cheese layer.IMG_3003

Add the remaining cream cheese mixture and spread gently over the raspberry layer.  Some of the raspberry liquid will mix into this top layer – spread gently to create a delicate ‘swirl’ design (but do not “mix” – you want to keep the layers as separate as possible).

IMG_3004

Pour hot water into the roasting pan to about half-way up the springform pan.  Bake at 325 F for about 1 hour to 1 hour 15 minutes.  IMG_3005

Remove from water bath, remove foil, and allow to cool before refrigerating for at least several hours (overnight is best).   The raspberries create a tangy filling between the soft creamy layers of cream cheese, and the cookie base is moist (like cookies dipped in milk).  Buon Apetito!finished cheesecake

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