During my first attempt, I baked the cheesecake in a water bath – the top is smooth and not browned at all. The second time I baked it, I skipped the water bath – the cheesecake rose and browned during baking then sank while cooling, creating a nice cavity to hold the blueberry compote.
Place the crushed digestive biscuits in a mixing bowl. Add in almost all the butter and stir until the mixture resembles damp sand, adding more butter if needed. Mix in the cinnamon (if using). Tip the mixture into a 7-inch round cake tin (springform or loose-bottom) and press down firmly onto the base of the tin. If you plan to bake the cheesecake in a water bath, wrap the cake tin with 3-4 layers of aluminum foil to prevent water from seeping in. Chill in the fridge while you make the cheesecake batter.
The crust can be made 1 day in advance.
Preheat oven to 160C / 320F.
Place the softened cream cheese and sugar in a large mixing bowl. Beat with an electric mixer on low speed for 1 minute to mix them together. Add in eggs and sour cream and beat on low speed for 2 minutes, scrapping down the sides frequently. If there are lumps in your mixture, strain the mixture through a fine sieve into another clean bowl. Stir in the lemon juice, lemon zest and vanilla.
Remove the crust from the refrigerator. Usng a fork or a skewer, poke holes on the bottom of the crust. Pour in the filling.
If using a water bath: Place the cake tin (make sure it has been wrapped in several layers of aluminum foil!) in a larger cake tin. Fill the larger cake tin with boiling water until halfway up the smaller cake tin.
Bake for 50 minutes to 1 hour until the cheesecake is set with a slight wobble in the middle. Remove the cake tin from the oven and from the water bath (if using) and place it on a wire rack to cool completely. Chill in the fridge for at least 4 hours or overnight.
Combine blueberries, 1 tablespoon sugar, lemon zest and a little lemon juice in a small pot. Bring to a boil, then turn down the heat to a simmer. Simmer for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently and squashing the berries, until the mixture has thickened slightly. Taste and add more sugar and lemon juice if needed. Remove from heat and let cool completely - the compote will thicken upon cooling.
Run a small knife or spatula around the edges of the cake tin then push out the cheesecake or release it from the springform tin. Transfer the cheesecake to a serving plate, spoon the compote on top and serve.
To slice the cheesecake neatly, dip a non-serrated knife in hot water, wipe dry, slice and wipe clean. Repeat this for every slice.
- To make ½ the recipe, use a 5-inch round cake tin. - Beat the cheesecake batter on low speed so that you don't incorporate too much air into the batter.