Last weekend, my mom and I went U-picking for the first time. I learned some valuable lessons.

1. You won’t use all those berries.

2. When they say “Wear long pants and sleeves,” wear long pants and sleeves.

I did not, and found myself trapped at one point by overgrown raspberry bushes. I really needed a machete. Instead, I just pushed through, and had arms and legs full of scraps and scratches to show for it. Later that evening at work, a coworker asked me cautiously, “I don’t want to get into your business, but what happened?!”

I wasn’t a fast enough thinker to come up with a good story.

A few days after U-picking, I knew the blackberries had to be used or tossed. So I hunted around on Google looking for a yummy, non-cobbler recipe. I found this one for Blackberry Cheesecake Squares on Food Network, but it’s really from Ree Drummond, The Pioneer Woman, whose blog I absolutely love.

The recipe was super easy and really tasty. I combined raspberries and blackberries in my topping just because I had both. I wasn’t a huge fan of the pecans in the crust, but perhaps I just used too many? Pecans have such a strong flavor, I thought it detracted from the cheesecake.

Blackberry Cheesecake Squares


Cooking spray, for spraying foil

One 11-ounce box vanilla wafers

1/2 cup pecans

1 stick (1/2 cup) butter, melted


Three 8-ounce packages cream cheese (I used the 1/3 fat cheese and that was fine)

1 1/2 cups sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla

4 eggs

1/2 cup sour cream


4 cups blackberries

1 cup sugar

1 tablespoon cornstarch

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. For the crust: Line a 9-by-13-inch rectangular baking pan with foil and spray with cooking spray.

Place the vanilla wafers and pecans into the bowl of a food processor and pulse until the mixture becomes crumbs. Add the melted butter and pulse again until combined. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan and press the crumbs into the bottom of the pan (and up the sides a little)

For the filling: Beat the cream cheese, sugar and vanilla together in a medium bowl with an electric mixer until smooth. Add the eggs one at a time, beating after each addition. Add the sour cream and mix again.

Pour the filling into the crust, smooth the top and bake for 50 minutes. Turn off the oven, open the oven door and allow the pan to sit in the open oven for 15 minutes. Remove and set aside to cool.

For the topping: Add the blackberries, sugar and 1/4 cup water to a saucepan or skillet. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and cook until the juices thicken slightly, 4 to 5 minutes.

In a small bowl, make a slurry by stirring together the cornstarch and 2 tablespoons water until smooth. Add the slurry to the berries, return to the boil and cook for another 1 to 2 minutes. Turn off the heat and cool the mixture.

Pour the blackberries over the cheesecake and place the pan into the fridge to cool and set for at least 2 hours, if not overnight.

When ready to serve, remove the cheesecake from the pan by lifting the edges of the foil. Slice into about 24 pieces.

• Click here for more posts from Appetite.