The end of the local blueberry season is almost over. At this time of the year one of the local farms invites the community in to pick their own blueberries for one day only. It’s a brilliant way to avoid ridiculous wastage of beautiful fruit, as the bushes would otherwise be trimmed back anyway, and an even better way to support a local farm.
Heading out to the farm and picking your own berries is so much fun. Driving through the countryside, past numerous other farm gates is one of the loveliest things about the Alstonville area in Northern NSW. There’s just so many brilliant farms right at our doorstep and seeing them on my way out meant I stopped off and grabbed a few other delicious bits and pieces on the way home.
The farm was packed by 8am with families heading in to collect a few kilos of blueberries. Seeing people of all ages picking their own fruit was great! There’s nothing nicer than knowing where food really comes from and even I couldn’t believe the huge amount of fruit still on the bushes.
After picking, and nibbling, on the blueberries we happily headed home with about a kilo and besides eating them straight up, I began to wonder what else I’d create... jams, tarts? Or all of the above!
I’m not a huge fan of overly sweet things, but I do enjoy fresh fruit driven desserts, so for something different I decided to mix my love of cheesecakes with a tasty little slice. To make sure I avoid the sickly sweet reality of many slices I’ve also chosen to make this slice a yoghurt cheesecake. Mixing the flavours of blueberries, dried figs and mandarin zest was an easy combination in my mind, dancing with flavours of more of the Middle Easter palate, which I find to be one of my favourites for this time of year.
As someone who isn’t a big dessert maker, if I can create and make this recipe, you can definitely do it too! It’s super simple and flexible too. Depending on the season, you can play around with the fruit and general flavours added to the yoghurt cheesecake base of the slice. An overall winner in my book.
Some other combinations you might like to try might be;
~ Raspberries, pistachios and lemon zest,
~ Blueberries and lemon zest
~ Mango, lime zest and coconut
~ Fresh figs, orange zest, pinenuts and add 2 teaspoons of honey
The ideas are endless!
While there’s many no bake cheesecake slices out there, I’ve opted for a baked one here, as they’re still easy to make but turn out to be a bit fluffier and lighter to bite through as a final product. For only a little more time it’s worth it. This little recipe is a keeper.
4 dried figs, finely chopped, plus extra figs to decorate
1 cup blueberries, plus extra blueberries to decorate
Zest of one large mandarin
1. Preheat fab forced oven to 160c. Grease and line the baking pan.
2. In a bowl add the biscuit crumbs and melted butter. Mix well and press firmly into the base of the baking pan. Set aside.
3. In another bowl add the Yoghurt Cheesecake ingredients. Use an electric mixer to beat until well combined and smooth.
4. Fold through the chopped figs and blueberries. Add the zest and fold through again.
5. Pour the cheesecake mixture over the biscuit base into the baking pan. Allow to settle evenly. Put extra figs and blueberries on top for decorations.
6. Place in the oven and bake for 50 minutes to an hour. The slice is ready when the cheesecake is beginning to turn lightly golden and is firm to touch, but has a slight wobble to it. Remove and allow to cool, then place in the fridge to chill and firm up.
7. Cut into pieces and enjoy with even more blueberries!
None needed! Enjoy with a coffee or tea as part of morning or afternoon tea.
If you are serving the yoghurt cheesecake as part of a little high tea, pop a bottle of prosecco or champers with it, and if it’s being served as part of a dessert, make sure you add a dollop of cream and source a beautiful little dessert wine to sip away with this little sweet.
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