Tuesday, March 6, 2012

lavender-glazed cheesecake: so lovely


I don't know about you but lately I've been getting disappointed when I can't get something seemingly easy right. I develop these ideas in my head, and when they don't work out, I get frustrated. Sometimes I make really stupid mistakes and I don't know why. I'm talking mainly about baking here, but it also goes for other things in my life.

You'd think that I would know better, but nope, mistakes seem to happen from time to time.

 

It used to happen a lot more when I first started off on this baking adventure and although I've learned heaps since, I still catch myself screwing things up. The last time I had a failed attempt, I just sat and cried for a bit. Pretty pathetic, huh?

Well at some point, I realized that I'm not the only one. Mistakes happen to everyone. I've even caught the top chefs at pastry shops messing up. In fact, almost everyone makes mistakes, but I've realized that I just need to keep learning from them. Because chances are, I'm going to mess up a lot more as I keep learning new things.

The most reassuring thing that I've ever heard is that everyone makes mistakes, but the professionals just know how to cover them up. 


So I guess there's nothing to be ashamed about. I'm also pretty lucky to have a guy who knows just what to say to help me and calm me down. 

As for this cheesecake, it was really easy and a joy to make. I'm not sure why, but I've always been a little scared of making cheesecakes. I've made them before but was never fully satisfied. Well, let me tell you, this is IT. This is definitely my new favorite cheesecake recipe. It's easy and oh-so-smooth and yummy. The texture is perfectly silky, while the glaze adds just a hint of flavour without taking away from the actual cheesecake. Happy baking!



Cheesecake with Lavender Glaze

Yields one 6-inch cake
Source for cheesecake: Miette

Ingredients

For the cake:
 
3/4 cup graham cracker crumbs (either home-made or ready-made cookies)
2 tbsp (1/4 stick) unsalted butter, melted

1 pound (2 packages of 250 g each) cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1/4 cup heavy cream 
3/4 tsp vanilla extract

For the glaze:

1/4 cup milk
1/2 tsp dried lavender buds
1 to 2 cups icing sugar, depending on how thick you want it

Procedure

For the cake:

Preheat oven to 350 F. Mix the melted butter and graham crumbs in a small bowl and press into the bottom of a 6" springform pan. (I don't have a springform pan of that size so I oiled the bottom and sides of a 6" cake pan and placed a round piece of parchment paper on the bottom so that when I took the cake out, I could just flip it over and it would fall out.) Bake the crust until dark golden brown and firm, about 8-10 minutes. Leave to cool.

In the bowl of an electric mixer with the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese on medium speed until fluffy and smooth, without any lumps, about 5 minutes. Gradually add the sugar and beat until smooth and delicious looking, 2 minutes. With the mixer on low speed, add the eggs one at a time, beating just until incorporated and not for too long. Slowly add the cream and vanilla and beat until smooth, about 2 minutes.

Strain the batter through a mesh sieve into a clean bowl, then pour onto the cooled crust. (This results in a silky smooth cheesecake).

Bring a large kettle of water to a boil. Place the cheesecake pan into a larger roasting pan or even a bigger cake pan (I put mine in a 10" cake pan). Pull out the middle rack in the oven half way, place your pan-in-a-pan on it and then carefully pour the boiling water into the larger pan to reach halfway up or more the sides of the cheesecake pan. (This is what prevents the sides of the cake from turning brown).

Bake until the filling is set and just barely jiggles in the centre, about 1 hour 30 minutes. Remove from the water bath and place on the wire rack to cool completely. Refrigerate a few hours or preferably overnight. When cool enough, run a knife around the sides and loosen edges, flip over and let cake slide out.

For the glaze:

Place the milk in a small sauce pan and remove from heat when it starts to boil. Add the dried lavender buds and let steep 5-8 minutes. Strain milk into a bowl and whisk the icing sugar a little at a time until smooth and at desired thickness. I added a little drop of purple food colouring to give a lavender look. Pour over cheesecake and enjoy! 

Side note: I tried really hard to not let my glaze run down the sides but it just wasn't happening. I think a thick ganache would have given the result I was looking for, but I loved how light the glaze was. It added the perfect hint of flavour without over-powering the cheesecake too much.

15 comments:

  1. Oh that is beautiful! Lavender is such an excellent flavor, so delicate. I love it!

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  2. This is gorgeous! I have lavender left over from sachets I recently sewed for a baby shower. This would be a wonderful way to use it up!

    And I feel you on the mistakes front: two of the cakes I recently baked for my own birthday dessert bar looked a little uneven on top and I nearly had a meltdown.

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    Replies
    1. Hi Anika!
      Just make sure the lavender you use is food safe and hasn't been sprayed with pesticides. And don't worry, every time you make a mistake, you'll learn from it!

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  3. I can't wait to try this!! There is specific culinary lavender that is less camphoric than the lavender used in sachets. I've used both and there is definitely a difference!

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  4. Where does one find lavender buds?!

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    Replies
    1. Hi Jocelyn!
      You can probably find some in your local health food store. I actually found some in a pharmacy in the natural medicine section with the teas. Just make sure it's organic and pesticide-free.

      Delete
  5. The whipping cream does not have an amount - "1/4 whipping cream" - Should it be 1/4 cup?

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    Replies
    1. So sorry about that! Yes, 1/4 cup heavy cream.

      Delete
  6. We have a lavender farm nearby that sells culinary lavender, among other goodies. I can't wait to try this; it's beautiful!

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  7. Actually, I think the glaze running down the sides is lovely. I'd leave it just like that and never admit it was a mistake

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    Replies
    1. Thanks, Roxanne! I definitely do like it more now.

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  8. this looks so luscious! wonderful idea for a glaze~

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