Blackberry Cheesecake Galette

If there's one thing I've learned in my many years of blog reading, recipe hunting, and cookbook browsing, it's that there's no one way to make a cheesecake. The most classic version may be with a graham cracker crust and a simple cream cheese filling, but I've also seen cheesecakes made as bars, as tarts, and as cupcakes; cheesecakes made with ricottamascarpone, or even robiola cheese; no-bake cheesecakes and cheesecakes baked in water baths, not to mention cheesecakes in all sorts of flavors (peanut butter, chocolate, Oreo, strawberry, raspberry, coconut...the list goes on). I had never however seen or thought to make a cheesecake galette (free-form pie) like this one, strange given my penchant for anything wrapped up in a circle of flaky pastry dough and baked (this Cherry Tomato Crostata, this Butternut Squash Galette, these Berry Crostatas, this Zucchini Tart...) Thankfully, however, we have the genius Deb Perelman of the blog Smitten Kitchen to think up these sorts of things.

If this Spaghetti with Cherry Tomato Sauce reminds me of the naturally pretty girl we all went to high school with, Deb reminds me of the straight A student who nailed every exam (or in this case, recipe). Every dish she comes up with is guaranteed to be a crowd-pleaser, not to mention original, creative, and incredibly delicious (can you tell this is my favorite food blog?!) So, what exactly are we dealing with here? This blackberry cheesecake galette has a perfectly smooth, just-sweet-enough cream cheese filling, brightened with a hint of lemon and vanilla and dotted with tart juicy blackberries, all of which is tucked into a swoon-worthy buttery, flaky, pastry crust (the dough is a dream to work with, too). One of my colleagues remarked that he "wasn't quite sure what I'm eating, in a good way" which is the beauty of this dessert. It is certainly a cheesecake, yes, but also a pie, a galette, and, as Deb points out, similar to a very large danish, meaning this dessert is actually a perfectly acceptable addition to your next brunch (there is fruit in there, after all!) It is sturdy enough to be cut into slices and eaten with your hands -- the same can't be said for graham cracker crust cheesecakes -- and though there are separate components here, the dessert comes together unbelievably quickly. 

A couple of notes: I made a few slight changes to the original recipe. Deb used lime in her cheesecake galette, while I used lemon because that's what I had on hand. I increased the sugar in the crust a little, and sliced the blackberries in half to release some more of the juice (if you don't want the filling to be as pink as it is above, keep the berries whole). You can use any berry here you want -- strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries would also be good. Finally, I photographed the galette on a cloudy day at 7:30am before I left for work so the light wasn't so awesome. This didn't of course last more than an hour in the office to be photographed later on (I should've known!) so let that be more of a testament to the goodness of the cheesecakes than the slightly dark photos themselves.

You'll notice that I've put the quantities in grams as well as the usual cups and tablespoons. I have purchased a kitchen scale so going forward I am going to try and put quantities in both cups and grams, to make the recipes on the blog more approachable for the non-Americans. 

Want more easy cheesecake-y recipes? Check out these Chocolate Swirl Cheesecake Bars and these Cheesecake Brownies. Want more berry recipes? Check out these Berry Tartlets, this Summer Berry Cake, this Blueberry Pie, this Mascarpone with Raspberries, and these Strawberry Chocolate Shortcakes.

BLACKBERRY CHEESECAKE GALETTE

Ingredients for the crust:
1 1/4 cups (160 grams) flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar
8 tablespoons (4 ounces or 113 grams) cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1/4 cup whole milk Greek yogurt or sour cream (about 63 grams or 4 tablespoons)
3 to 4 tablespoons cold water

Ingredients for the filling:
1 cup (4 1/4 ounces, 118 grams) blackberries, halved
1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon sugar
A squeeze of lemon juice
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1 (8-ounce, 224 grams) package cream cheese, softened
1 egg + 1 egg white (you can use the yolk for the egg wash below)
1/4 teaspoon lemon zest (a scrape or two of lemon zest)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 egg yolk (egg wash)

Directions:
Make the dough for the crust by hand: Stir the flour, sugar and salt together in a large bowl. Sprinkle butter over dough and using a pastry blender or your fingertips, work it into the flour until the mixture resembles coarse meal, with the biggest pieces of butter the size of tiny peas. Whisk together the water and yogurt and add it to the dough. Stir to combine until a dough forms. Alternatively, combine all ingredients in a food processor and pulse to combine, until the dough comes together (start with 3 tablespoons water and add the fourth if the dough looks dry). Transfer the dough onto a piece of plastic or waxed paper (since I had neither, I used a bit of floured aluminum foil) and pat into a ball. Wrap into a packet and refrigerate for 1 hour.
Meanwhile, make the filling: In a small bowl, combine the blackberries, 1 tablespoon of the sugar (I added a bit more as my berries are on the sour side) a squeeze of lemon juice and the cornstarch. Stir and set aside. In a medium bowl, beat the cream cheese and the egg and egg white until light and fluffy. Beat in the remaining 7 tablespoons of sugar and the vanilla. Stir in the blackberry mixture.
Heat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Butter a 9-inch cake pan, springform pan, pie dish, or 9-inch tart pan, and place on a baking sheet.

On a floured counter, roll chilled dough into a large (12- to 14-inch) circle. Carefully drape the dough in the prepared pan, letting the edges hang down the sides. Pour in the cream cheese batter. Gently lift the dough’s overhang and fold it gently over the filling. This doesn't have to be at all perfect (as you can see from the photos below) -- even if it's a little messy, it will still look pretty.
Beat the egg in a small dish and brush over the crust of the galette. Bake the galette for 35-45 minutes, or until a tester inserted into the cheesecake comes out with no batter attached. Let cool in pan on a rack. Refrigerate once cooled. Serve the cheesecake when fully cold and set. Serves 8-10. 
Very slightly adapted from www.smittenkitchen.com



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