There are hundreds of blueberry cheesecake recipes circulating the web. But making a good cheesecake requires perfect timing, temperature, and accuracy in your approach.
Petite Blueberry Cheesecakes
Credit: Hector Sanchez

Whether you're making a dense New York-style cake or bite-size blueberry cheesecake bars, these foolproof tips will ensure you get a creamy, moist cheesecake.

Let it chill.

If you want your cheesecake to completely set and to come out of the pan with ease, allow at least six hours for it to chill in the refrigerator. However, cheesecake tastes best at room temperature, so plan to let it stand at room temperature for another 20 to 30 minutes before serving.

Don't use cold cream cheese.

Bring your cream cheese to room temperature before making the batter. If it's too cold, it will end up thick, resulting in a lumpy batter that no amount of beating will take care of. Also, opt for full-fat cream cheese; low- and non-fat versions yield a chalky or crumbling cake rather than a creamy one.

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Cover the cracks.

A cheesecake is almost always bound to crack simply based on the temperature change. Instead of laboring over how to avoid it, cover the cracks by spreading a thin layer of sour cream over the cooled cheesecake. This will give it a clean finish and will make the cake a little creamier.

Bake the crust first.

If you're working with graham cracker crust -- or any crumb-based crust -- pop the mold in the oven for 10 minutes before filling it. It's more likely to stay crisp this way.

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Bake it in a water bath.

Cheesecake batter is delicate; the trick is to bake it slowly and evenly without browning the top. The most effective way to do this is to bake it in a water bath. Wrap the exterior of the pan in foil for extra protection from the water, which can seep in during the bath. Then, place the wrapped cake inside a roasting pan filled about an inch high with a boiling water. This insulates the outer ring (the part most likely to bake too fast) and keeps the oven moist, which will prevent cracking or curdling.

Remove the cake from the oven before it sets.

Most people overcook cheesecake because they wait too long to take it out of the oven. If the cake still wobbles in the center, but the rest is cooked, it's done. The middle will continue to cook as it cools on the counter.

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Don't add the blueberries (or any other topping) until the very end.

Fruit toppings should never be baked otherwise the flavor gets lost in the dense cake. Wait until the cheesecake has chilled before adding a fruit compote or a glaze. We recommend garnishing the cake no sooner than two hours before serving, but wait until just before serving if possible.