Chefs' Recipes

Neil Perry's baked blueberry cheesecake

Chef Neil Perry says it's hard to beat a good cheesecake. Truer words have never been spoken.

By Neil Perry
  • 30 mins preparation
  • 1 hr 15 mins cooking (plus resting, chilling, cooling)
  • Serves 8 - 10
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"It's hard to beat a good cheesecake. This one is simple and delicious," says chef Neil Perry. "Desserts like these are great when they are baked fresh at home and served to the whole table."

Ingredients

  • 250 gm cream cheese, softened
  • 110 gm (½ cup) caster sugar
  • 3 eggs, at room temperature
  • 750 gm soft fresh ricotta, drained
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp rum (see note)
  • Finely grated zest of 1 orange
  • Finely grated zest of 2 lemons
  • 250 gm blueberries, macerated overnight in 2 tbsp caster sugar
  • Icing sugar, for dusting
Pastry
  • 375 gm (2½ cups) plain flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 55 gm (¼ cup) caster sugar
  • 150 gm unsalted butter, chilled, chopped
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tbsp milk
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten, extra for brushing

Method

  • 1
    To make pastry, place flour, sugar and a pinch of salt in a food processor and pulse to combine. Add butter and pulse until mixture forms crumbs. Whisk together eggs and milk, add to the food processor and pulse until the dough just comes together. Shape two-thirds of the dough into a larger disc and remaining third of dough into a smaller disc. Wrap each pastry disc in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
  • 2
    Grease a 22cm springform tin then line base and sides with baking paper.
  • 3
    Roll the larger disc of pastry out on a lightly floured work surface until 3mm thick and a 30cm round. Gently wrap dough around floured rolling pin, place over tin and unroll loosely. Using your fingers, gently press dough into the base and up the side of the tin; trim excess dough with a knife and discard. Refrigerate pastry case until needed.
  • 4
    Roll out the smaller disc of dough on a lightly floured work surface until 3mm thick and 22cm round, then cut into 14 x 1.5cm-wide strips (using a fluted pastry wheel, if you have one). Place pastry strips on a tray lined with baking paper, brush strips with a little of the extra beaten egg and chill until needed.
  • 5
    Preheat oven to 160°C. Beat cream cheese and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment until cheese is smooth. Add eggs, one at a time, making sure each one is fully incorporated before adding the next. Add ricotta, vanilla extract, rum and citrus zests and mix until just combined. Crush blueberries lightly with a fork and then add blueberries and macerating juices.
  • 6
    Spoon filling into pastry case and level surface with an offset spatula. Carefully arrange pastry strips over the top in a lattice pattern, then trim excess pastry.
  • 7
    Bake cheesecake until filling is just set and pastry is golden (1¼ hours), covering the top with foil if it is over-browning. Transfer cheesecake to a wire rack and cool in tin for 25 minutes, before unclipping the side to finish cooling completely. To serve, dust with icing sugar and cut into wedges.

Notes

You can make the cheesecake a day ahead and refrigerate overnight. Bring to room temperature before serving for the best flavour. Any dark rum can be used in the cheesecake but Perry prefers a Caribbean rum, not spiced, for example, Havana Club or Appleton Estate.