Lemon Lavender Cheesecake

After weeks of agonizing over creating the perfect recipe, possible flavor combinations, and taking hits on the old self-esteem, I have found IT. Or at least, my IT.

(“It” comes with a bottle of Calcium supplements… didn’t you know?)

A week or so ago I found a suitable Lavender Cheesecake recipe that yielded a tasty non-baked concoction. The only baked cheesecakes I consistently like are my mother’s and Trader Joe’s. I infinitely prefer “mousse” varieties since they are less dense, easier to prepare (baking those darn things creates more stress then the stock market floor), and taste like magic. The above recipe had a good lavender flavor a day after it was thrown into the fridge, but it was not very firm and lacked shape. Since good ole’ Paula Deen makes a killer Key Lime cheesecake that holds up extremely well, I decided to follow in the footsteps of our automobile makers and create a hybrid.

The addition of the lemon glaze added a lot of depth, in my humble opinion. Here’s a breakdown of the flavors as they hit your lips:
1) Punch of lemon goodness
2) Smooth-as-baby’s-bottom creaminess
3) Subtle overture of lavender
4) Coarse sweetness of the graham cracker crust

And with a wham bam thank you ma’am, you’ve got yourself a winner. Take it to parties, introduce it as your “special friend”, share it with your favorite people. You soon won’t need all those books on how to be popular!

For the crust:

2 cups graham crackers, pulverized
5 T butter, melted
2 T brown sugar
Mix all of these lovely items together in a bowl and pat into the bottom of a greased springform pan. I don’t own one of those handy dandy things, so I improvised and used a 9 inch pie dish, which worked just fine. After all, people, it would taste the same if you put it a pan shaped like a cockroach. But your popularity might suffer.

For the filling:

Part 1:
4 T lavender (I found it for $1 at Cost Plus, super cheap)
4 T boiling water
1 packet unflavored gelatin
1/2 c heavy cream
3/4 c white chocolate chips
Go at the lavender with a mortar and pestle until fragrant.

Pour the water over the lavender and allow to steep for 15 minutes. Strain the infusion into a small saucepan. Really mash the lavender buds in the sieve to get as much liquid out as possible. Go ahead, show them what you’re working with and put your back into it.

The carcass of what’s left over looks like dried baby vomit, so I wouldn’t recommend trying to reuse it for anything. Really, though. Throw it away before you get any ideas.

Whisk the gelatin into the lavender infusion and put the heat on medium high, slowly stirring in the cream. When it starts to simmer turn off the heat and mix in the white chocolate chips, stirring until smooth. Allow to cool completely. It is very important that this be not at ALL hot, or else it will melt the whipped cream in the next step. Do you want to ruin everything? That’s what I thought.

Part 2:
8 oz light cream cheese (you can use regular if you’d prefer, it just makes me feel very righteous when I use “low fat” items.)
1 1/4 c heavy cream
1/2 c honey (not a strong honey, you don’t want it to overpower the lavender)

Whip the cream until it holds stiff peaks and set it aside.

In the mixing bowl whip the cream cheese until smooth and gradually add the honey. Pour the cooled white chocolate-lavender mixture into the mixer and beat until smooth. Using a spatula and “soft” hand motions, fold in 1/3 of the whipped cream. Once it is incorporated add the rest of the cream and fold in until evenly distributed.

Pour this over the crust.

For the Lemon Glaze:

3 T lemon juice
1 T cream cheese, softened
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar, or enough to make the glaze thick

Whisk the cream cheese in a bowl until it is malleable. Add a small amount of lemon juice and whisk until smooth. Continue alternating adding juice and whisking– this way you ensure a lump-free glaze. Sift the sugar into the bowl and whisk until smooth, adding more if needed. Pour this over the cheesecake, cover in plastic wrap, and refrigerate overnight.

This cheesecake was really, really tasty. If you’re looking for an interesting twist on a regular old Friday night, give this puppy a try. I practically made out with the spoon I was eating it with, if that’s any indication as to it’s yumminess.


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