Blueberry Bash Contest 2014 1st Prize — Abbey Thompson
- 2 cups graham cracker crumbs
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter (1 stick), melted
- 1 Tbsp granulated sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 2 Tbsp lavender flowers (food-grade)
- 3- 8 oz. packages cream cheese, room temperature
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 3 eggs
- 1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 2 Tbsp vanilla extract
- 1 Tbsp brandy (optional)
- 1 pint fresh blueberries, rinsed clean of all stems and debris
- 1/4 cup orange juice
- 3 Tbsp granulated sugar
- 1 Tbsp vanilla extract
- 1 tsp cornstarch
- 1/4 tsp cinnamon
- Preheat oven to 350o
- Mix together the crust ingredients and press firmly into the bottom of a 9-inch spring-form pan or 24 cupcakes (lined with paper or foil liners). If making cupcakes, put approx. one rounded tablespoon into each cupcake liner. Press crumbs down firmly with small jelly or shot glass as compact as possible.
- Heat the heavy cream in the microwave or a saucepan until hot but not boiling. Add lavender flowers and stir. Let lavender steep in the cream for about 10-20 minutes, then strain the flowers out. Let cool to room temperature.
- Combine cream cheese and sugar in the bowl of a stand-mixer (or a large bowl if using a hand-mixer) and cream together until smooth. Add eggs, one at a time, fully incorporating each before adding the next. Make sure to scrape down the bowl in between each egg.
- Add the strained heavy cream, vanilla, lemon juice, and brandy, then blend until smooth and creamy.
- Pour batter into prepared crust and tap the pan on the counter a few times to bring all air bubbles to the surface. If making cupcakes, fill each liner until nearly full (leave approx. 1/4 inch of room at the top). If making a large cheesecake, it can be cooked in a water bath (but is not necessary).
- Bake the cupcakes 25-30 minutes and then remove from the oven to cool. Bake the large cheesecake 45 to 55 minutes, until it is almost done – this can be hard to judge, but you’re looking for the cake to hold together, but still have a lot of jiggle to it in the center. Remove cheesecake from oven and lift carefully out of water bath, if using one. Let it cool on the counter for at least an hour, and then cover and put in the fridge to chill fully.
- To make the blueberry sauce, combine all ingredients in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Cook, stirring gently, 8-10 minutes until berries have begun to burst and the juice in pan turns purple and thickens. Removed from heat and let cool.
- Before serving, pour blueberry sauce over chilled cheesecake or spoon over individual cupcakes.