15 ounces (about 3 cups) fresh blueberries
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon pure maple syrup
1 1/2 cups vanilla wafer cookie crumbs (from about 7 ounces)
1/4 cup almond meal or finely ground almonds
2 tablespoons brown sugar
5 tablespoons butter, melted
16 ounces full-fat cream cheese, room temperature*
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
4 large eggs, room temperature
2/3 cup crème fraîche** or sour cream, room temperature
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3/4 teaspoon almond extract
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Toss blueberries with brown sugar and maple syrup. Spread onto a rimmed baking sheet (lined with foil for easy cleanup) and roast for 15 minutes or until juicy and bubbly. Remove from oven and let cool for 10 to 15 minutes, then pour, scraping all berries and their juices, into the bowl of a food processor or blender; puree until smooth and set aside. You should have about 1 cup of puree (if you have more than that, feel free to set some aside to drizzle on the top of the cheesecake later).
Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees F. Butter your 10-inch Elsterware Springform Pan; line bottom with a round of parchment paper if desired.
Crush cookies in a food processor until fine crumbs; pulse to mix in almond meal, sugar, and salt until blended. Add butter and pulse until evenly moistened. Press into bottom of prepared pan. Bake crust for 10 minutes or until set, then remove from oven and let cool completely.
Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees F.
In a large mixing bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, beat room temperature cream cheese with sugar until smooth. Add salt and flour and mix well. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary to be sure all ingredients are evenly incorporated. Add crème fraîche, lemon juice, vanilla and almond extracts, and pureed blueberries and mix until even in color and no white streaks remain (remember to scrape the bowl again!)
Pour batter into cooled crust. Place on a baking sheet and place in preheated oven. While cheesecake is baking, whisk together crème fraîche, sugar, and almond extract until smooth.
After about 45 to 50 minutes, when center of cheesecake is set, remove from oven and let cool on a wire rack to room temperature. Refrigerate overnight or until ready to serve. Remove edges of springform pan and slice into 16 wedges; serve chilled or at room temperature, topped with fresh blueberries or leftover roasted blueberry puree if desired. Cheesecake will keep in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
*It is VERY important that all your refrigerated ingredients be at room temperature, this means your cream cheese, eggs, and crème fraîche. Doing so will ensure a silky smooth filling. I recommend taking your ingredients out of the fridge at least 2 hours before you bake, longer in cooler temperatures.
**Crème fraîche is a french cultured cream similar to sour cream, though the flavor is slightly more mild and delicate. You can make your own quite easily, or substitute sour cream if you’re unable to find it.