Thursday, October 18, 2012

Pemberly's Earl Grey and Lavender Cheesecake


Earl Grey and Lavender Cheesecake

So we were discussing our reading of Death Comes to Pemberly by P.D. James for book club back in August, I wanted to make something fitting for a Jane Austen sequel.  This is what I came up with.  There are similar sounding recipes online but all the ones I saw failed to either make it Earl Grey-y enough and/or it wasn’t an appealing cheesecake recipe.  And I totally failed at taking a picture of it!  B  

Ingredients:
Crust:
2 ½ cups of vanilla wafer crumbs
½ cup of melted butter
¼ cup of sugar

Filling:
4 packages (8oz each) of cream cheese, room temperature
2 cups of cream
2 tbs lavender (tea or some kind of culinary lavender)
2 tbs Earl Grey Tea
1 ¾ cups of sugar
4 eggs lightly beaten
1 tbs vanilla

Combine vanilla wafer crumbs, sugar, and butter.  Press onto bottom and sides of a greased 9 inch spring-form pan—I frequently go without pressing onto the sides of the pan and just go with the bottom.  I’m much more into the filling than the crust and this filling stands up well without having crust on the sides.  It’s your call.  Pop in your 325 degree oven and wait 15-20 minutes or until lightly browned. 

The day before or even before I start on the crust, I steep the cream—just like when making tea but very carefully.  In a small pot slowly bring the cream to the perfect point of steaming over medium-low heat.  You will see little bubbles around the edges and a light steam coming off the cream.  Turn off the heat.  Add in the Lavender and Earl Grey, stir it up, and let steep for no longer than 5 minutes, putting a lid on it will keep the cream hot enough.  If it steeps too long it won’t be more flavourful it will just start tasting bitter, if you want it to pack more of a flavor punch I suggest adding more tea leaves to the steep.  Pour the cream through a strainer to remove leaves, press on leaves in strainer to get out every bit of flavor.  Let cool completely.

In a large bowl, beat cream cheese, flavored cream, sugar, and vanilla until smooth and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time; beat on low speed until just combined. Pour into crust. Wrap pan in foil and put in a 325 degree oven for 1-1½ hours.  It’s finished when there’s a light browning and the center is no longer jiggly if you give it a shake—it should be firm.  Let it cool for at least 10 minutes—don’t be surprised if it falls a little bit.  Run a knife around the edges and release the cake from the spring-form pan.  The cake will not look perfect!  It will have some cracks and the outer edges may be bit more browned than the middle. Perfect looking cheesecakes are always suspect in my book, the best ones have the marks of imperfection proving that the goal was delishness not good looks. 

For serving I suggest steeping extra cream with Earl Grey, chilling it, and whipping it up into a whipped cream with some added honey for sweetness. 
 Death Comes To Pemberly

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