Bright lights, big city

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½ cup slivered almonds
1 cup blueberries
1-2 tablespoons confectioners' sugar

Brush melted butter across the bottom and sides of a 9-inch springform pan. Set the pan on a rimmed baking sheet. Heat oven to 300 degrees.

Drop cookies and cut-up butter into the food processor. Pulse to crumbs. Pat crumb mixture into the bottom of the prepared pan.

Bake crumb crust until fragrant, slightly darkened and crisp, about 10 minutes for cookies, 15 for crackers. Set aside.

Scrape ricotta cheese into the (clean) food processor. Swirl completely smooth, 1-2 minutes.

Crack eggs into the bowl of a sturdy mixer. Beat on medium-high, using the whisk attachment; slowly cascade in granulated sugar. Beat until thick and pale, about 4 minutes. Add prepared ricotta, flour, vanilla and zest. Beat just until combined.

Pour ricotta mixture over crust. Bake until just set (still a bit jiggly in the center), about 30 minutes.

While cheesecake is baking, spread nuts on a rimmed baking sheet. Slide into the oven and toast golden, about 4-5 minutes.

When cheesecake is done, scatter nuts and blueberries over warm cake. Gently press in. Chill completely. Dust lightly with confectioners' sugar before unmolding and serving.

Leah Eskin is a Tribune special contributor e-mail her at
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