The first year Dave and I dated we planted a small lavender plant and a Hood Strawberry plant in his backyard, side by side. Though I had a hunch and hope then that we would be together a long time, I had no idea we would be living in the same house nine years later.
I am thankful for my past self every year. The lavender bush is now huge. I love watching the bees that flock to it. We got more strawberries than ever this year. Most of them get gobbled up as quickly as they ripen by Phillie. Therefore most of these strawberries aren’t actually the ones we grew, but the smell of the lavender and strawberries growing together, and watching the bees work so hard, makes me want this cheesecake.
This lavender honey cheesecake has a well-balanced lavender flavor. It won’t leave you guessing it’s there, but it doesn’t taste like a bar of soap either. The cheesecake is creamy, but light and custardy. The honey compliments the floral flavor. I also do a rather thick layer of graham cracker crust because I’m a gal who loves buttery crust, and isn’t shy about it.
I top it with strawberries here, but any summer fruit would be divine. I can see it with an assortment of berries for a colorful Fourth of July treat. Nectarines or peaches would shine with the lavender. Figs would also be the perfect accompaniment. I don’t think there is a wrong answer here. I don’t add any extra sugar to my fruit, but you certainly could if you like things a bit sweeter.
Crack happens, and I have not figured out a fool-proof technique for avoiding it. Sudden change in temperature is a big culprit. Here I turn off the oven and leave the door ajar without removing the cheesecake, allowing it to cool in the oven before letting it cool at room temperature. It helps a lot. This cheesecake still had a bit of cracking, which I just covered with berries. The large dimple is actually my three year old daughter, Philomena’s contribution.
Lavender Honey Cheesecake, Makes one 9in cheesecake
- 2 oz heavy cream
- 2 T lavender
- 1/2 cup of butter
- 2 sleeves of graham crackers
- Pinch of salt plus 1 tsp, divided
- 24 oz cream cheese, at room temperature
- 1/2 cup honey
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 2 T flour
- 3 eggs, at room temperature, lightly whisked
- 3 cups chopped fruit such as strawberries, blueberries, nectarines or peaches (Sweeten with 1-2 T of sugar of desired. )
- Preheate oven to 325F. Put cream and lavender in a small pot. Bring to a simmer. Turn of the heat, and allow the lavender to steep for 10 minutes. Strain the cream and set it aside to cool.
- Make the crust. Melt the butter. Break down the graham crackers in half or large bite sized pieces. Put the graham crackers into a food processor and blend until there are no big pieces. Add the melted butter, and blend. It should resemble wet sand. Firmly press the crust into the bottom of a 9 inch springform pan. Wrap the bottom of the pan in aluminum foil, bringing the foil up around the sides about an inch.
- In a mixer with the pale paddle , beat cream cheese with honey, sugar, and vanilla until the mixture is smooth. Add the infused cream and mix to combine. Add the flour and mix to combine.
- Add the eggs and mix just until combined. You do not want to incorporate too much air into the eggs, as that will make the cheesecake crack more.
- Pour the cheesecake mixture on top of the prepared crust. Put springform pan in roasting pan, and then pour in warm water around the pan to make a water bath. It should come up about halfway the sides of the pan.
- Bake for 40 minutes. Turn off the oven, and crack the door open, leaving the cheesecake in the oven. Allow it to cool for at least an hour in the oven. After an hour, cool it at room for an additional two hours. Cover and chill in the refrigerator.
- Serve with chopped fruit.