Bright lights, big city

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½ cup slivered almonds
1 cup blueberries
1-2 tablespoons confectioners' sugar

Prep:
Brush melted butter across the bottom and sides of a 9-inch springform pan. Set the pan on a rimmed baking sheet. Heat oven to 300 degrees.

Grind:
Drop cookies and cut-up butter into the food processor. Pulse to crumbs. Pat crumb mixture into the bottom of the prepared pan.

Crisp:
Bake crumb crust until fragrant, slightly darkened and crisp, about 10 minutes for cookies, 15 for crackers. Set aside.

Swirl:
Scrape ricotta cheese into the (clean) food processor. Swirl completely smooth, 1-2 minutes.

Beat:
Crack eggs into the bowl of a sturdy mixer. Beat on medium-high, using the whisk attachment; slowly cascade in granulated sugar. Beat until thick and pale, about 4 minutes. Add prepared ricotta, flour, vanilla and zest. Beat just until combined.

Bake:
Pour ricotta mixture over crust. Bake until just set (still a bit jiggly in the center), about 30 minutes.

Toast:
While cheesecake is baking, spread nuts on a rimmed baking sheet. Slide into the oven and toast golden, about 4-5 minutes.

Decorate:
When cheesecake is done, scatter nuts and blueberries over warm cake. Gently press in. Chill completely. Dust lightly with confectioners' sugar before unmolding and serving.

Leah Eskin is a Tribune special contributor e-mail her at leahreskin@aol.com
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