We were going to a friends for brunch. They seemed to have all of the essential brunch foods already taken care of so I figured I would bring a dessert. I couldn't figure out what I wanted, but as I was drinking some of my lemonade I know the dessert had to have lavender and lemon.
I'm not a great baker, as you have probably noticed I like doing a lot of raw desserts. I always say, "Cooking is an art and baking is a science ... and science has never been my strength!" I give a lot of credit to those bakers out there! I thought a cheesecake would be a great brunch dessert, but I've only made one in my whole life. Time to tackle my fears, it can't be that hard with the all the internet recipes out there. The problem was, none of the recipes I saw were ones that I wanted to make. So, I went in a little blind and figured if it fails, I didn't tell anyone what I was going to bring!
I used my go-to crust recipe of dates and walnuts ... from then on, I feel like it was a blur. I started mixing ingredients and it didn't seem to be getting the right consistency so I only added one egg ... then it didn't look like it was going to be enough so I added some ricotta ... I was scribbling and rewriting amounts constantly! When they came out of the oven I couldn't wait to taste them! I think I honestly jumped a little and yelled for Paul because not only did the cheesecake hold up but I liked the flavor. It was a personal baking victory for me. I still think I'll stick to the raw desserts more often, but this recipe proves it's worth trying something new every now and again!
Makes 24 minis or 12 regular
Lemon and Lavender Mini Cheesecakes
1 c dates
3/4 c walnuts
8 oz cream cheese
1/3 c ricotta
1/2 c sugar
1/2 t lemon zest
1/2 t vanilla extract
1 t lemon juice
3/4 t dried lavender flowers
2 egg yolks
2 t dried lavender flowers
5 t lemon juice
1 t lemon zest
2 T butter
Purée dates and walnuts in your food processor until thoroughly mixed. Press the mixture into your lined or sprayed muffin tin.
In a bowl mix all of your filling mixture ingredients. I like using an immersion blender, but if you need an arm workout, it can be done by hand. Pour the filling on top of your crust.
Bake cheesecakes at 350º for 25 minutes for minis and 35 if you are using a regular-sized muffin tin.
While the cheesecakes are baking, mix your lemon curd. Melt butter in a sauce pan. Mix in all remaining ingredients on a low to medium heat for 8-9 minutes. Continue whisking the whole time so it doesn't separate. It will start to thicken. Put in the fridge for 2-3 hours to thicken up even more. Curd is good for up to a week if you want to make the curd ahead of time ... or for other recipes. It's delicious!!!
Let the cheesecakes sit for at least 15 minutes before topping with your lemon curd. Keep refrigerated until you're ready to serve.