For the crust:
- 1.5 cups graham cracker crumbs (about 10-11 whole graham crackers)
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 6 Tablespoons butter, melted
For the cheesecake layer:
- 1 (8 oz) block of cream cheese, at room temperature
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 2 eggs
For the blueberry layer:
- 1/3 cup water
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 3 Tablespoons cornstarch
- 2 Tablespoons lemon juice
- 3 cups of fresh or frozen blueberries
- 1 (21 oz) can blueberry pie filling
For the whipped cream layer:
- 8 oz whipping cream
- 2 Tablespoons sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 8 oz Cool Whip, thawed in the fridge
- Preheat the oven to 350.
- Mix together the graham cracker crumbs, sugar, and melted butter in a 9×13 pan. Press the mixture firmly into the bottom of the pan.
- In a large bowl or stand mixer, beat together the cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Add the eggs one at a time, scraping the sides of the bowl after each addition, and beat until smooth.
- Pour the cream cheese mixture over the graham cracker crust, then bake for 20-25 minutes, until set but try to avoid it browning too much at the edges. Allow to cool.
- Meanwhile, if making the blueberry filling, add the water, sugar, cornstarch, and lemon juice to a saucepan. Whisk until the cornstarch is dissolved, then add the berries and bring to a simmer over medium to medium-high heat. Smash the berries with a potato masher (or the back of a spoon) to your desired consistency. Allow the smashed berry mixture to simmer for another minute (so that it simmers for a total of 2-3 minutes), until it is glossy and thickened, then remove from heat and allow to cool.
- When the cheesecake and blueberry mixture are cool, spread the blueberries evenly over the top of the cheesecake. (If you use canned blueberry pie filling, just spread it on top when the cheesecake layer is cool.) Chill, covered, for at least an hour (you want to make sure it’s completely cold before adding the whipped cream topping). You can speed this step up if your pan fits in the freezer.
- To make the whipped cream topping, add the whipping cream, sugar, and vanilla to a bowl (I try to remember to chill mine in the fridge for awhile first) and beat until it turns into whipped cream with stiff peaks. “Ice” the chilled blueberry cheesecake bars with the whipped cream (or Cool Whip, if you prefer) and serve immediately or chill until ready to serve! It’s best if the whole thing can chill for at least a couple of hours, and the pieces will be easier to slice and remove from the pan, but it will be good no matter what.
This recipe is originally from my mom’s mom. The homemade blueberry pie filling is adapted from this recipe from the NY Times.
Please note that the total time includes the initial chilling step, but not any additional chilling you may want to do once all the layers are together.
I’ve also used orange juice in place of lemon juice, and if you want a zestier filling (haha, wait for it…) you can include some lemon or orange zest, as well (I would try 1/2 a teaspoon).