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jam-packed nonstop weekend

Recipe: blackberry curd cheesecake in a jar

Boy, that was a busy weekend! And I’m not even talking about Easter since the Sunday prior I said, “I think it might be Easter today.” Then I looked online and found out it was another week away. And all of that Easter candy in the stores didn’t go on sale the following week. I don’t do well with holidays whose dates float. That’s another reason why Halloween is my favorite holiday.

fresh snow on easter?


We had snow all weekend, and it was great! We donned our boots, packs, skis, skins, and finest Patagonia for a lovely day in the backcountry – practically all to ourselves except for the yahoos firing rifles somewhere in the distance (because THAT’S what some folks do on Easter Sunday, I suppose?). When we came home, we chowed down on dinner party leftovers from Saturday night. It only took us a year to get around to inviting our new neighbors over for dinner. Hey – we’re all busy people… plus it was a good nudge to finally clean the house.

I kicked my weekend off a tad early on Friday with an afternoon gathering of my stitch-n-bitch crew which involved absolutely zero stitching. Someday we’ll fix that, but for now we’re having too much fun doing the nosh-n-slosh. It was nice to finally see Marianne, who had been in Antarctica for several months. And also to see Beth who has been in Boulder the whole time, but could have just as easily been in Antarctica with Marianne for all I knew. Like I said, we’re all busy people.

fab food

kitt made french 75s for everyone

these were my contribution

hmmm, seems to be a nikon-centric crowd

and we all wanted to spend time with this handsome little guy

Besides catching up with this group of witty, fun, and smart women, I love that we always have a great spread of homemade food. People bring whatever they feel like and it always works out. Kitt usually brings cocktail fixings as she is our resident mixologist. You can always count on Manisha to bring amazing Indian food. And me? Typically at least one dessert. I meant to bring two this time, but spent Friday morning dumping an entire batch of baklava into the trash (bad walnuts). Good thing I had cheesecake!

my motley collection of jars

mixing graham cracker crumbs, sugar, and butter

I like to bring individual servings over one giant cake if possible. It’s not always possible or worth the extra headache, but I always try. My first thought was to use cake rings, which I’ve done before, but I didn’t want the hassle of unmolding and I was running short on time last week. Jars… jars… Didn’t Pim recently post about cheesecakes in jars? I went to look and discovered that she posted about them last summer. I guess recent is a relative term for me!

scoop a little into each jar

gently press down

The jars I used were just random jars I have in my recycled jar cabinet. It’s an eclectic mix of shapes and sizes that I tried to keep to around 8 ounces or less in capacity. Ideally, I would have liked to use some of my nicer little serving glasses, but I don’t think they would have survived the oven – even in a water bath. Pim had said jam jars or any jar should work, which makes sense since they have to withstand certain temperatures and pressures.

cheesecake: milk, flour, cream cheese, sugar, lemon zest, egg yolks, eggs

mix until smooth

So you can’t go and toss these jars into the oven straightaway or else the glass will likely crack or shatter. Then you’ll be left with glass cheesecake and no one recommends serving and eating that. The best and smoothest cheesecakes I’ve enjoyed have always been baked in water baths. Water baths will also make it possible for you to bake your cheesecakes in a jar. Full. Double. Rainbow. All. The. Way.

pour batter into each jar

bake in a water bath

Cheesecake, for me, is not about cheesecake. It’s about the fruity pairings. The weather had been so sunny and warm in Boulder that I couldn’t resist getting a pint of fresh blackberries at the store. However, a pint wasn’t enough to make the blackberry curd that I wanted to put on top of the cheesecakes. I picked up a (giant) bag of frozen organic blackberries. They were sweet and plentiful, so I doubled the recipe – because you never know when you need more blackberry curd! [Actually, I just re-read the curd recipe and see that I doubled the amount of berries accidentally – but it was GREAT.]


bring to boil with orange zest and water

If you’ve ever had to press cooked berries through a sieve, you know it’s a long, tiring, and messy process. Ever since my high school pal sent me a food mill (because he read that I swore excessively the last time I pressed berries through a sieve), the process of making seedless berry purées has been reduced to merely messy. I’ll take it! I really love that food mill. Really, I do.

make a (delicious) mess pressing the blackberries through a food mill

add butter and sugar to make the blackberry curd

Plop some butter and sugar into the purée then add cornstarch to thicken and you should wind up with a smooth, gloppy dark reddish-purple curd. It’s lovely. I could have had the curd and omitted the cheesecakes altogether. When the cheesecakes have cooled, top them with the curd and garnish as you like. And you don’t have to make blackberry curd (although, I can’t think of a reason why you wouldn’t). You can top the cheesecake with any fruit curd, roasted fruit (like Pim did), fruit compote, fresh fruit, drunken fruit (hmmmm, that’s an idea!), chocolaty something or other, caramel, etc. The sweeter toppings would probably make me go blind, but the beauty of making your own food is that you can put what you want on it.

it will be thick and velvety

top cheesecakes with curd and garnish

It was a tad sugary for me, so I might reduce the sugar in the crust and the cheesecake next time. But Jeremy and my girlfriends gave them the thumbs up and I have four more in the refrigerator to be delivered to our other neighbors this evening. Share the love (and calories), right?

dessert in a jar, just for you

Blackberry Curd Cheesecake in a Jar
[print recipe]
cheesecake from The Good Housekeeping Book of Illustrated Desserts and blackberry curd from Renaissance Culinaire

2 cups (250g) graham cracker crumbs
6 tbsps (85g) sugar
6 tbsps butter, melted

40 oz. (1.15kg) cream cheese, softened
14 oz. (400g) sugar (I’d reduce this to 12 ounces next time)
5 large eggs
2 oz. (60 ml) milk
3 tbsps all-purpose flour
2 large egg yolks
1 lemon, grated peel of

blackberry curd
2-4 cups blackberries, fresh or thawed (I used 4 cups)
1/2 cup water
1 tsp orange zest
1 cup sugar
2 oz. butter
4 tbsps cornstarch
4 tbsps cold water (originally 2 tbsps, but was impossible to mix)

Preheat the oven to 325°F. Have approximately 12 8-ounce jars clean and dry at the ready. You don’t need the lids (unless you want to seal them for transport). Boil a pot of water.

Crust: Mix the graham cracker crumbs, sugar, and melted butter together. Press enough crust into the bottom of each jar about a half-inch thick (it really depends on how big your jars are).

Cheesecake: In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese until smooth and slowly beat in the sugar. Scrape the sides down periodically to avoid any cream cheese lumps. Beat in the eggs, milk, flour, egg yolks, and the lemon peel. Continue beating until uniform and smooth, scraping down the sides as necessary. Pour the batter into each jar about 2-3 inches deep. Tap the base of the jars on a counter or table to get the air bubbles out of the batter. Place the jars in a roasting pan and carefully pour the boiling water into the pan avoiding getting any water into the cheesecake jars. The water should come up to an inch below the shortest jar. Place in oven and reduce heat to 300°F. Bake 30 minutes then turn off the oven and let the cheesecakes sit in the oven for another 20 minutes. Centers should be jiggly while the edges should be slightly firm. Remove from oven, remove from water bath and let cool completely. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour.

Blackberry curd: Place the blackberries, water, and orange zest in a pan and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer for 5 minutes. Press the mixture through a food mill or you can purée the berry mixture in a food processor and press through a sieve. Pour the berry liquid back into the saucepan over medium heat. Stir in 1 cup sugar and 2 ounces butter. Mix the cornstarch and water together in a small bowl. While whisking the berry mixture, pour the cornstarch into the pan. Stir until thick and bubbly and stir for another 3 minutes. Remove from heat. Pour the contents into a bowl or vessel and cover with plastic wrap. Let cool.

Top each cheesecake with blackberry curd and garnish as desired. Makes about 12 8-ounce jars.

53 nibbles at “jam-packed nonstop weekend”

  1. Michelle says:

    You totally make me want to move back to the mountains and play in the snow!

  2. Cookin Canuck says:

    Eating and chatting – that sounds like my kind of stitch & bitch group. These cheesecakes are absolutely adorable.

  3. Nico says:

    this is adorable! I really want to do this next time I have a little party to go to :)

  4. Lana says:

    I remember a few years ago when Mother Nature dumped 2 feet of snow on Easter and trying to comfort my girls who could not understand why the egg hunt was cancelled. But, that was in Ohio, where you were hard-pressed to find a good sledding slope, so I found no joy in the snow. Envious to you mountain folk:)
    Now we are in SoCal, and I can almost taste your blackberry curd. You are right, it goes really well with sunshine:)
    I love the idea of the individual cheesecakes, and I am a proud owner of dozens of orphaned jam jars. Now all I need is some friends to help me spread the sweet love:)
    Great post (and I am really glad your MRI came out good)!

  5. Michelle @ Brown Eyed Baker says:

    I absolutely love the idea and look of these cheesecakes. Individual desserts are awesome, and these are totally gorgeous!

  6. Margie says:

    Yummy for the tummy! Oh, and they are beautiful to look at, too. :)

  7. Georgia @ The Comfort of Cooking says:

    Wow, your cheesecakes look fantastic! What a fun idea, and I bet absolutely delish on a hot spring day. Thanks for sharing your recipe and all of these beautiful images!

  8. Jen says:

    How do you store the leftover blackberry curd?

  9. Christine says:

    Oh yum on the curd. And your Full Double Rainbow reference made me laugh. Thanks!


  10. Sil says:

    Jen, this is sooooo great! Love those cheesecakes!

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  12. Dianne says:

    So cleaver! This would be an elegant dessert for a picnic at the beach. It’s a practical way to transport dessert and reinforces portion control!

  13. Y says:

    Mmm yummy. I want snow, food in jars

  14. Y says:

    Mmm yummy. I want snow and food in jars! Ooo.. and I spy stuffed eggs too!

  15. Cookie and Kate says:

    Wow. You’ve outdone yourself! Your cheesecake looks delectable, and the presentation is impeccable. I wish I had one waiting for dessert tonight!

  16. eemilla says:

    Yummy and cute!

  17. Manisha says:

    These were fantastic!

    We never get any stitching done cos our hands are busy shoveling food from plate to mouth.

    I promised my book group pals that I would make it for our next meeting. We actually talk about the book, besides eating and drinking. But talking while eating is easy!

  18. Swee San @ TheSweetSpot says:

    wow very pretty.. I wanna go get some jars now too!

  19. Paulette says:

    Looks wonderful. I just might try my Aunt Mary’s cheesecake recipe its not too sweet and so good. But yours look yummy. Now I’m craving cheesecake. Paulette

  20. gourmade says:

    So, what are French 75’s?

  21. Kristin says:

    A whole batch of baklava? Agggh! I love the cheesecakes though.

  22. Inna says:

    What a cute idea! Love it for parties!

  23. SallyBR says:

    Absolutely beautiful! Individual presentation is definitely the way to go…

  24. Ali says:


  25. Jessica says:

    THANK YOU for sharing the recipe. I will be making these!!

  26. Down Home Magazine says:


  27. Helen in CA says:

    Is it possible to have cheesecake ingrediants in “measure” in addition to “weight”? At least for the sugar? (creamcheese I can go by the pkg & obviously, the milk has fl. oz)


  28. Margaret Christine aka Farmer Maggie says:

    firstly, jealous! snow. pshaw. it’s 98 degrees here in west central texas. and in flames. secondly. jealous. precious blog. thirdly, jealous. delicious AND precious desserts. hope it’s okay to share this on my facebook page, from maggie’s farm?

  29. Mary @ Delightful Bitefuls says:

    Those are just the cutest!!!! I can’t wait to try these out!

  30. Jill says:

    The details in the garnish…..lovely!

  31. Lisa says:

    Can’t wait to try this recipe!!

    This may be a silly question, but how did you make those awesome lemon peel curly cues? I always admire those things in cocktails and such, and can’t figure out how to do it myself! Thanks!

  32. Mrs Ergül says:

    What a great idea! I think baking them in little jars appeal to people much better than the whole cake! Lovely idea!

  33. Joy says:

    That is a cool take to cheesecake. I collect jars all the time but I never know what to do with them.

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  35. jaclyn@lifeoftodayslady says:

    I absolutely love the idea of using jars for individual desserts!!!! These are so cute!!!

  36. Yu-E Cake says:

    Thanks for sharing! Real artistic! Enjoy pretty much surfing here!

  37. jenyu says:

    Lana – thank you :)

    Jen – I store it in a glass jar in the refrigerator if I’m going to use it within a few days, otherwise I freeze it (I believe it’s good for up to 6 months frozen?)

    Y – the deviled eggs were fabulous (my friend Kitt made them)

    Manisha – so true ;) xo

    gourmade – French 75’s are champagne cocktails.

    Kristin – I know, right? :(

    Helen in CA – sorry, I can’t remember what 14 oz was… Something like 2 cups – maybe less? But I can vouch for investing in a kitchen scale (any old scale works).

    Margaret – absolutely it’s okay to share! That’s why I put it here :) to share! xo

    Lisa – just get a strip zester and slowly carve out a long strand of zest from the citrus, then I wrap them around a chopstick in a coil and keep it that way until I’m ready to use it.

  38. tia says:

    These didn’t work for me. The cheesecakes never cooked. I cant figure out what went wrong but the cheesecake just stayed hella liquidy. was it supposed to be liquidy? i figured that it wasn’t but maybe I’m wrong? the flavors were fantastic though…

  39. jenyu says:

    Tia – it’s hard for me to help or troubleshoot if you don’t tell me exactly what you did.

  40. tia says:

    oh haha, sorry. of course! (Sorry, I’ve just started trying these blogs out, so I dont really know what I’m doing) Um, I guess I was just wondering if they were supposed to come out liquidy. I’m assuming no, huh? I did everything you wrote, but I just realized I forgot to leave them in the oven with the stove off for 30 mins. Thats musta been it.

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  46. Kat says:

    These look super good! I was just wondering if it is possible to sub raspberries in for the blackberries? I am assuming that it would turn out much the same, but I just thought I’d ask before I tried and had a disaster on my hands. Thanks!

  47. jenyu says:

    Kat – yes, I think raspberries would be lovely too!!

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  50. laning says:

    Jen… the cheesecakes looked amazing.. cant wait to try it soon.
    By the way i love love your site

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  52. Amanda says:

    Do you think these would freeze well after being baked? Maybe even without the fruit on top until ready to eat?

  53. jenyu says:

    Amanda – theoretically you should be able to freeze the cheesecakes after they are cooled completely. Wrap them tightly in plastic wrap for up to a month. And yes, I would leave the fruit off until ready to serve.

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