An almost no-bake blueberry cheesecake and the sweet woman behind it

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Jessilyn Akin was a Boy Scout troop leader and blueberry farmer in Southwest Missouri.


Blueberries are everywhere right now, in cocktails and milkshakes, salads and pies, tarts and cheesecakes.

I was back in my home state of Missouri earlier this month, where my mom made this almost no-bake cheesecake that was one of the signature desserts of our family friend, Jessilyn Akin, who died in February at the age of 86.

For decades, Akin ran Rocky Top Berry Farm, a pick-your-own blueberry farm near my hometown of Aurora, and this recipe was one of dozens she gave away to customers on small, colored index cards. Of all those pink and blue cards stuffed in my grandma’s recipe collection, this is the one we make over and over and over again.

It’s a shortbread-like crust baked for a few minutes and topped with a mixture of Cool Whip, powdered sugar and cream cheese. The blueberries (fresh or frozen) are simmered on the stove with a little sugar and cornstarch to make a blueberry sauce that goes on top. When you make it, imagine the sweetest lady driving around a berry patch in her golf cart, telling you to take as many recipe cards as you want on the way out, especially for the cheesecake.

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You can use fresh or frozen blueberries in this cheesecake. Photo by Chris LeBlanc.

Blueberry Cheesecake

For the blueberry topping:
3 cups fresh or frozen blueberries
1/2 cup sugar
1 Tbsp. cornstarch
For the crust:
1 cup flour
1/2 cup softened butter
1/2 cup chopped nuts, such as pecans or almonds
1/4 cup granulated sugar
For the cheesecake filling:
8 oz. softened cream cheese
1 cup powdered sugar
1 cup whipped cream, such as Cool Whip
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
Additional whipped cream and chopped nuts, if desired

Place the blueberries, sugar and cornstarch in a medium saucepan. Heat, stirring often, until the blueberries start to release their juices. Simmer for about 15 minutes or until thick, stirring frequently. Chill the topping while preparing the crust.

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Using a food processor or a pastry cutter, combine the flour, butter, nuts and sugar. Press mixture into a 8-inch-by-8-inch square baking pan and bake for 15 minutes. Let cool while preparing the cheesecake layer.

Combine the cheesecake filling ingredients in a medium bowl and spread over the cooled crust. Spread the cooled blueberry sauce on top of the cream cheese layer. Serve with an additional scoop of whipped cream and a sprinkle of chopped nuts, if desired.

— Adapted from a recipe by Jessilyn Akin

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