I’ve been wanting to make cheesecake for a while, but I didn’t want to make a giant cheesecake, and I was having trouble finding smaller springform pans, so the idea just lingered in my mind like the one orange in the bag covered in mold that makes you not want to eat any of the other oranges. But, I finally found 4-inch springform pans, and so am now uninhibited in the realm of cheesecake, or so I thought. Alas, I think it was not a hardware issue that was keeping me from making this next culinary endeavor; I think I was afraid because I had no experience with setting dairy-based batters. People make cheesecake and it has this perfect un-cracked surface that seemed so unattainable. Whatever though, I like cracks more, so I decided I was really just being a baby, and so I took the leap and bought some cream cheese.
The batter ended up being the easiest part. The most annoying thing ever was to make my own crust, but that came out really well too, and I’m really glad I went with a longer, more manual approach for that. I happened to have some lavender growing in the yard, so I threw some of that in there, and passion fruits were on sale, so they got some time to shine as well. The sour notes from the passion fruit really helped to temper the soapy floral flavors from the lavender. The crust is basically homemade graham cracker crumble, and the deep buttery sweetness adds a rich crunch to the otherwise overbearingly, yet perfect, fluffy mixture. In the end, I ate 2 whole cakes in one sitting, so be careful.
Butter Count: 6 Tbsp
6 Tbsp butter, softened
2 Tbsp light brown sugar
2 Tbsp granulated sugar
2 Tbsp honey
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups flour
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 Tbsp olive oil
Preheat the oven 350F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Add the butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar to a stand mixer fit with a paddle attachment. Turn the speed to medium-high and mix until smooth. Add the honey and vanilla extract, and mix until combined.
Add the flour and salt, mixing at low speed until combined. pour the dough onto the prepared baking sheet and kind of crumble it up into loose lumps, each no bigger than 2 inches in any dimension.
Bake about 20 minutes, or until golden. Remove from the oven and cool about 30 minutes.
Transfer the crust lumps to a food processor and pulse a few times until the mixture is finely ground.
Coat four 4-inch springform pans with cooking spray. Mix the crumb mixture with the oil (you can use a fork) and divide the mixture evenly into the four springform pans. Use a flat-bottomed glass to press down the crumbs into the bottom, and about halfway up the sides of each springform pan in an even layer, about 1/4 inch thick.
Bake 8-10 minutes, or until set. Remove the crusts from the oven and allow to cool completely.
3 8-oz packages cream cheese, room temp
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1 Tbsp fresh lavender
1/4 tsp salt
4 eggs, room temp
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp vanilla extract
Cut open the passionfruits and strain them through a fine mesh sieve into a bowl.
Grind up the lavender in a mortar and pestle, or just by smashing them with the bottom of a pot, or however you want to do it. The blossoms just need to be crushed open basically.
In a stand mixer fit with a paddle attachment, mix the cream cheese, sugar, lavender, and salt, and mix on medium-high heat until light and fluffy. Scrape down the sides and mix again about 1 minute.
Add one egg and mix 1 minute, then scrape down the sides of the bowl. Repeat with the other 3 eggs.
Add the lemon juice, vanilla, and passionfruit liquid. Mix until combined, starting at a lower speed and raising to a higher speed to accommodate the wet mixture and prevent splashing.
1 Tbsp fresh lavender
Set a kettle of water over high heat and bring to a boil.
Tightly wrap the springform pans in foil, leaving the tops open for the cheesecakes to rise. Place them in a deep-bottomed roasting pan. Pour the filling evenly into the four springform pans.
Pour about 1 inch of the boiling water into the pan, careful not to get any water into the cheesecakes. Transfer the pan into the oven on the center rack, careful not to burn yourself with the boiling water.
Bake 70-80 minutes until the edges are browned but the center still jiggles a little bit. Remove the pan from the oven and allow the cheesecakes to cool in the water bath until the water is room temperature, about one hour. Remove the springform pans from the water, remove the foil, and refrigerate uncovered until very cold, at least 4 hours, or even overnight.
Just before serving, remove the cheesecakes from the springform pans, scoop 1/2 of a passionfruit onto each cake, and sprinkle 1/4 Tbsp of fresh lavender on top of each.