When blackberries and peaches are at their peak, marry them together with this deliciously light cheesecake that showcases the fresh perfection of the season's fruit. (Yet not without a slightly decadent cookie crust!)
Pick the sweetest, most fragrant peaches you can find, that give a bit when squeezed, but not so much that they are mushy. Peel and cut into bite sized pieces, sugaring them only enough to enhance their flavor. Reject any that aren't already flavorful without the sugar. Just a few gratings of nutmeg - or the tiniest pinch - will enhance their flavor.
Press into a Pam-sprayed 9 to 9-1/2" springform pan and bake for about 15-20 minutes or until just slightly browned and a bit darker around the edges.
When it smells irresistible, you'll know you're on the right track.
A note about the cream cheese: it MUST be very soft to blend well. I heat mine, out of the pkg, on a plate for almost a minute in the microwave or until it is slumping off the plate, otherwise you will have unevenly blended pieces of white cream cheese bits throughout your imperfect cheesecake in the end.
Now, to scatter and submerge the berries which will turn bright fuchsia-pink as the cake cooks. These are wild berries I picked from the fence row in our orchard and popped in the freezer on a cookie sheet for an hour or so. This keeps them from falling apart or bursting and staining the entire cake an ugly purple. If you purchase frozen berries, get the dry pack type and feel the bag to make sure they are individually frozen and moving around like little marbles in there, not one solid chunk.
Make sure they are pushed just below the surface of the batter. And yes, I'm using a fancy orange chopstick for this little chore.
You can use the back of a spoon if you prefer, just don't disturb the berries much and your reward will be a most lovely dotted slice of cake with luscious whole berries therein.
Bake at 375 checking it at 30 and 45 minutes. It may even take an hour depending on the exact size of your pan and temperamentality of your oven. The middle should be set and not wiggly at all when lightly shaken. Allow to cool several hours on counter (and even overnight in fridge) before cutting. If the sides have not pulled away from the edges, run a thin sharp knife all the way around before unbuckling the springform to remove, then slide onto a large platter with base of pan intact.
Ah, beauty. This only works if you're serving the entire cake immediately. (Unfortunately, you'll have a soggy cake the next morning if you store it topped, such are the powers of the juicy peach.) Just spoon some peaches over each slice as they are plated and store the remainder separately if you intend to attempt to make this baby last more than 24 hours!
SummerFest at the Food Network website is offering up the best ideas for your Farmer's Market finds all summer long. You'll find me right there and we'll be blogging together with the FN Dish to produce fabulous ways to enjoy your produce! Next week watch for eggplant thoughts, but right now check out these other ideas for peaches:
Jeanette’s Healthy Living: Peach Kiwi Salsa
Chez Us: Upside Down Peach Bourbon Cake
The Heritage Cook: Grilled Peaches with Mascarpone Filling
Virtually Homemade: Peach Cobbler Muffins
Made By Michelle: Mint Peach Popsicles
Taste With The Eyes: The BLP Sandwich (Bacon, Lettuce and Peach)
Napa Farmhouse 1885: Healthy Peach Crisp Smoothie
Red or Green: Spiced Peach Daiquiri
Feed Me Phoebe: Peach Lassi
Domesticate Me: Grilled Halibut Tacos with Peach Salsa
Weelicious: Kenya’s Peach Cake
Blue Apron Blog: Seared Trout with Peach and Arugula Salad
The Sensitive Epicure: Grilled Peaches with Greek Yogurt, Honey, Lime Zest and Vanilla
FN Dish: 5 Unsung Sides of the Summer Peach