I saw this recipe for Lavender Honey Cheesecake in the Washington Post food section about 4 years ago and the idea has stuck in my head ever since. Every Easter I planned to make it but for one reason or another it never happened. Part of the problem is that culinary Lavender is hard to find! This year, Nathan and I found a culinary Lavender plant at the local farmer’s market and I knew that this would be the year to finally make the dream a reality. It was worth the wait! The blueberries lend color to the cake without masking the flavor of the lavender, which gives this dessert an air of spring. It is definitely an unusual and different cheesecake but that’s what we do here on Rampant Cuisine!
Lavender Honey Cheesecake:
Recipe found here
MAKE AHEAD: The cheesecake should be prepared a day or two in advance; cover carefully and refrigerate.
For the crust
1 cup vanilla wafer crumbs
2 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
For the filling
8 vanilla wafers, crumbled (1/2 cup)
3 tablespoons plus 2/3 cup good-quality honey, such as wildflower
2 pounds cream cheese, at room temperature (do not use low-fat or nonfat)
4 large eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the topping
1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries, stemmed and washed
1/4 cup water
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons dried (culinary) lavender
8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature (do not use low-fat or nonfat)
1/2 cup Greek-style yogurt
Honey, mint leaves or crystallized flowers (optional)
Position an oven rack in the middle of the oven; preheat to 350 degrees. Boil a kettle of water (for a bain-marie, or water bath). Wrap the outside of a 9-inch springform pan tightly with aluminum foil to make sure it is waterproof.
For the crust: Combine the wafer crumbs, sugar and melted butter in a medium bowl, then press into the bottom and 1 inch up the sides of the springform pan.
For the filling: Combine the crumbled wafers and 3 tablespoons of the honey in a small bowl.
Beat the cream cheese in the bowl of a stand mixer or hand-held electric mixer on medium speed for several minutes, until it is smooth and creamy. Add the remaining 2/3 cup of honey; the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition; and the vanilla extract; stop often to scrape down the sides of the bowl.
Fold the wafer-honey mixture into the batter. Pour the filling into the prepared pan and place it in a larger roasting pan. Place the pan on the middle oven rack; use the boiled water to fill the pan so the water level comes about one-third to halfway up the sides of the springform pan. Bake for 1 hour, until the filling is set but still slightly wobbly in the center.
While the cake is baking, prepare the topping: Combine the blueberries, water and sugar in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Cook, stirring, for about 5 minutes, until the berries are very soft.
Add the lavender and remove from the heat. Let the mixture steep for 15 minutes, then transfer to a blender and puree. Strain through a fine-mesh strainer, pressing on the solids to extract as much liquid as possible. There should be about 1/4 cup of lavender syrup; discard the solids.
Beat the cream cheese in the bowl of a stand mixer or hand-held electric mixer on medium speed for several minutes, until it is smooth and creamy. Reduce the speed to low, then add the yogurt and the lavender syrup. If needed, use a spatula to make sure the mixture is blended together completely.
Remove the springform pan from the bain-marie and place on a wire rack; let it rest for 5 minutes, then spread the topping evenly over the cheesecake. Cool completely, then cover and refrigerate overnight (still in the springform pan).
When ready to serve, remove the cheesecake from the springform pan and place the cake on a platter. If desired, drizzle with honey or garnish each slice with a mint leaf or crystallized flowers.