OK, I know I called them blueberries when we picked them and blueberries when I baked them in muffins but they are in fact bilberries. They are distinct but very similar and it is usually easier to call them blueberries as people know what you talking about then, especially when cooking and eating with them, but just to be pedantic I’ll call them bilberries today.
Here’s what good old Wikipedia has to say on the subject
Bilberry (especially Vaccinium myrtillus) is also known in English by other names including blaeberry /ˈbleɪbɛri/, whortleberry /ˈhɜrtəlbɛri/, (ground) hurts, whinberry, winberry, windberry, wimberry, myrtle blueberry and fraughan. In several other European languages its name translates as “blueberry”, and this may cause confusion with the related plants more usually known as “blueberry” in English, which are in the separate section Cyanococcus of the Vacciniumgenus.
Anyway, enough on the biological provenance of the berries, they are little purple balls of sweetness and we had lots of them. I’d also been wanting to make a cheesecake for a while, so why not a bilberry cheesecake? Having not made one before I decided to follow a recipe and liked the look of one by Mark Hix – Mark Hix’s Blueberry Cheesecake.
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 10 minutes, plus 2-3 hours chilling timeYou will need
450g blueberries, hulled
200g caster sugar
20g cornflourFor the base:
250g digestive biscuits or Hobnobs
80g butter, meltedFor the filling:
300ml double cream
100g caster sugar
500g cream cheese, such as Philadelphia
Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
1 tsp vanilla extract
As you can see from the recipe it says that it serves 4 people, however, as soon as I saw the list of ingredients it was clear that this was going to be more than enough for far more people than that. It has almost a whole packet of hobnob biscuits for the base for a start and then with 500g of Philadelphia and 300ml of double cream, there’s plenty here for at least 12 portions, if not 16. All I can say is that if Mark Hix would divide this little beauty of a cheesecake into 4 portions then I like the sound of that and may just have to visit one of his restaurants!
It was pretty easy to make though. I only used about 200g of bilberries rather than the 450g that he suggests. Bilberries do have a stronger taste than blueberries but even so, once they were made into a sticky syrup there was loads of it and more than enough to use some to colour and marble the cheesecake filling with plenty left over to make a rich decadent sauce to spoon over the top of it ready to eat. The sauce has some fresh, uncooked bilberries in it that provide a little burst of tartness as they explode in your mouth.
I have to admit that I do like cheesecakes but tend to go for more substantial cakes when I get the chance. I really shouldn’t though as they are delicious and this one is no different. Trouble is, there’s quite a lot of it there to share between just Anna and myself and it won’t keep for long. On ttop of that we have Bilberry Muffins to finish off as well as some Honey and Polenta cake, and what’s more I’ve just polished off 6 pieces of various types of cake and flan at a Beekeeping meeting! Morgan in his foolishness won’t even try it – he doesn’t know what he’s missing!).