Berry-Lavender Cheesecake Squares

Berry-Lavender Cheesecake Squares

Basic cheesecake gets a sophisticated makeover with a lavender-scented berry topping and a pretty garnish of fresh lavender blooms.

Berry-Lavender Cheesecake Squares
Serves: 16
 
Ingredients
  • 1¼ cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • ½ cup plus 3 tablespoons granulated sugar, divided
  • 2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • Berry-Lavender Compote (recipe follows)
  • Garnish: fresh lavender blooms
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Line an 8-inch square pan with foil, letting edges hang over 2 sides of pan to use as handles. Spray with cooking spray.
  2. In a medium bowl, stir together graham cracker crumbs, melted butter, and 3 tablespoons sugar. Press mixture firmly and evenly into bottom of prepared pan.
  3. Bake until edges of crust are golden brown, 10 to 12 minutes. Let cool completely in pan.
  4. In a large bowl, beat cream cheese with a mixer at high speed until smooth and creamy, approximately 1 minute. Beat in remaining ½ cup sugar, lemon juice, and vanilla extract until incorporated. Beat in eggs, one at a time, at medium-low speed, beating thoroughly after each addition.
  5. Using an offset spatula, spread cream cheese mixture evenly over cooled graham cracker crust.
  6. Bake until cheesecake is slightly puffed and set, 25 to 30 minutes. (Center of cheesecake might jiggle a little.) Let cool completely. Wrap pan in plastic wrap and freeze for at least 4 hours or overnight.
  7. Using foil overhang, carefully lift frozen cheesecake from pan onto a clean cutting surface. Using a sharp knife, cut cheesecake into 16 squares. Serve cold or at room temperature.
  8. Just before serving, top with Berry-Lavender Compote. Garnish with lavender blooms, if desired.

Berry-Lavender Compote
 
Blueberries and blackberries—fresh or frozen—are cooked with sugar, lemon juice, and dried lavender to create a topping that’s perfect for cheesecake but that would be equally nice on ice cream.
Ingredients
  • 2 cups blueberries
  • 1 cup blackberries
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon dried culinary lavender, divided
  • ⅛ teaspoon fine sea salt
Instructions
  1. In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, bring blueberries, blackberries, sugar, 2 tablespoons water, lemon juice, ½ teaspoon dried lavender, and salt to a boil, stirring constantly. Cook at a brisk simmer, stirring frequently and reducing heat, if necessary, to prevent scorching as mixture reduces and thickens, 15 to 18 minutes. (Mixture should be the consistency of preserves.) Remove pan from heat.
  2. Taste compote, being careful not to burn yourself. If a stronger lavender taste is desired, stir in remaining ½ teaspoon dried lavender. Let compote cool completely. Store in a covered container, refrigerate until cold, and use within 2 days.