Spring is in the air! Although I am sad to see my beloved cool weather slowly slipping away from me, I try to remind myself of the happy summer times...swimming in pools, going to the beach, eating my weight in watermelon, and seeing all the beautiful flowers blooming. Then it came to me, why not incorporate these lovely flowers into cooking? For those of you who have never tried lavender it pretty much tastes just like it smells. Light and floral with a subtle sweetness and I find it pairs really well with heavier flavors such as heavy cream (lavender creme brulee) or in this case, cream cheese! Not only is there a little twist with the infused lavender, the crust also has almond, one of my all time favorite flavors! I find that the almond pairs really well with the buttery richness of the shortbread cookie and provides the perfect base for this heavenly filling.
Lavender Cheesecake with Shortbread Almond Crust
(adapted from My Jewish Learning)
for the crust...
1 1/2 cups blanched almonds
1 cup pulverized shortbread cookies
2 tsp Swerve all natral sweetener
6 TBS unsalted butter, melted
for the cake...
3 TBS dried lavender flowers
2 8-oz packages cream cheese, softened (I used low fat)
1/3 cup Swerve all natural sweetener
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 or 2 drops of purple food coloring (optional)
1.Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
2.Pulverize almonds in a food processor until they become powdery and flour-like. Transfer almond "flour" to a bowl and stir in pulverized shortbread cookies and Swerve sweetener. Add melted butter and stir to coat evenly. Tip mixture into a 9-inch pie pan and press evenly into the bottom and sides. Refrigerate while making the filling.
3.Gently crush the lavender buds and put in a small bowl. Pour 2 1/2 Tablespoons of boiling water over them and let steep for 15 minutes. Strain out lavender buds and set aside approximately 1 Tablespoon of the lavender-infused water.
4.In a medium bowl, beat together the cream cheese, Swerve, and vanilla until smooth. Beat the eggs in one at a time until well blended. Pour in the lavender infusion a little at a time, stirring until fully combined. Pour into pie crust and bake for 35-40 minutes until the filling is just set, but still a little wobbly in the center. Let cool to room temperature, then chill for at least 4 hours or ideally overnight.
To see Cooking with Swerve Part 1 click here