Blue Lake, blueberry cheesecake
This Labor Day validated some earlier choices made throughout my childhood. We spent this holiday at my brother, Tom, and his wife, Delila’s, cabin at Blue Lake. Now if you are not familiar with Blue Lake, let me clue you in. It is located just north of Brush Lake at Mercer, North Dakota. I am not sure how the name came about–maybe it was because some of the first cabins were painted blue or because at times the lake water is very blue.
I don’t believe that Elvis ever made an appearance singing, “Blue Moon of Kentucky,” but I do know his performance of “Blue Suede Shoes” has been played on the vintage stereo. The music happened to float out the front door on to the porch and eventually sailed away on the ripples of the lake. So the naming of Blue Lake is unknown. Just remember–“That’s All Right” and we don’t need to get “All Shook Up” over it.
The gravel road that leads to Blue Lake is surrounded by expanded fields and grasslands where cattle are residing. It is most peaceful. As you are rambling along, all of a sudden you see an extended azure–this is Blue Lake. For lake lovers, this sight strikes a chord within their hearts. The lake has a number of cozy cabins and alluring cottages on each end, but nothing “over-developed” which enhances the laid-back feeling you sense immediately upon arrival.
My parents were not lake people. They enjoyed going to the lake; however, having a cabin was not of interest to them. Besides–their very nice McKee punch bowl with pedestal in Aztec pattern and 12 matching cups would not have fit in very well! They did take us to the lake, and more importantly they made sure all five of us boys learned how to swim. Perhaps this is one of the reasons we all enjoy this form of recreation.
My parents, in time, purchased a pontoon which our family enjoyed many times. This vessel now resides at Blue Lake. Being on the pontoon brought back many great memories, and also gave us a chance to create a few new ones. Lydia, along with her cousins Gage and Levi, were having a grand time on a swim tube which was being pulled behind the pontoon. Naturally, Lydia thought her Daddy should join in the fun. I did–only after putting on my cool lake hat! I am not blessed with skin that tans, so I take cover.
A long-time Repnow tradition has been to celebrate the flood of Repnow birthdays (which happen in August) at the lake. When this was started, Tom took to making the cake. That quickly turned into celebrating birthdays with his family-famous blueberry cheesecake. This was easier to transport and also enjoyed by the family…a sweet extension of his brotherly love so to speak.
As I have mentioned before, my mom encouraged all of us boys to cook in the kitchen. Tom, being the oldest, took to it right away. As a child, I can recall his very best meal was meatballs with gravy, plus a ton of perfectly whipped mashed potatoes. He also liked to liven up our home during cleaning time with his stereo and the latest hits. We often joined in. In fact, one time he had all of us put on cotton socks, and then we shimmied down on the newly waxed dining room floor. By the time we were done sliding to the Supremes, that floor had a shine like a new car in the showroom. When we were done, we neatly put all the furniture back into place. Tom reminded us that mom said we should be friendly and helpful around the house when he was in charge. Little did she know that Tom added in the fun factor.
My parents are no longer able to go to the lake, but their memory is always present when we are there. We talk of them often. We are able to continue this tradition because of their providence. They knew that the simple things in life such as family gatherings, recipes shared, laughter over water, white legs on an inner tube, and cousins getting to know each other will forever stay gentle on our minds and hearts.
This is an original recipe created by Tom. Traditionally many cheesecakes are baked in a water bath. This is not; however, this turns out just great! This cheesecake is rich, so the servings can be small-great for a large lake party! It keeps well-unless you are like Tom, who is always sneaking pieces at midnight!
3 c. graham cracker crumbs
c. powdered sugar
2 tsp. allspice
2/3 c. melted butter (no margarine)
Combine ingredients and spread in a 9 x 13 cake pan pressing some up sides to form a 1 inch rim around pan.
5 – 8 oz. pkgs. cream cheese (softened)
1 c. sugar
3 T. flour
2 tsp. vanilla extract
5 eggs plus 2 egg yolks
c. whipping cream
In a large bowl, blend cheese, sugar, flour and extracts at high speed. Beat in eggs and yolks-one at a time-and beat until smooth. Beat in cream.
Pour into crust prepared pan, and bake 10 minutes at 450 degrees. Lower heat to 250 degrees and bake 1 to 1 hours longer. Remove to rack and cool for 2 hours.
2 T. sugar
c. vanilla pudding mix (not the instant kind!)
(I add can of Coke to the pudding mix to liquefy before adding to the blueberry mix)
2 cans blueberry pie filling
2 tsp. vanilla extract
In saucepan (I use the microwave), combine sugar, vanilla pudding, vanilla extract and pie filling. Cook until thickened and translucent. Cool. Spread surface of cooled cheesecake with glaze. Refrigerate until well chilled. Enjoy!
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