…make cheesecake. Yep; cheesecake. I’m not a huge lemonade fan so I made cheesecake with my lemons. When I want lemonade I grab the container of country time and pour out some highly processed sugar and real lemon flavor. What the heck IS that anyway? I mean, it’s either real lemon or it’s lemon flavor. How can you have real lemon flavor? Wouldn’t that make it real lemon? Or fake flavor? I’m so confused! Yet… I drink it. Go figure. Speaking of which, have any of you ever tried it hot? It’s quite yummy that way. I’m sure it would work fine with that *gasp* real lemonade stuff too. As for me, I’ll save my “Whoa; have these gotten expensive or WHAT?!” lemons for cooking with and keep chugging the fake stuff… hot or cold.
Moving on (I really can’t type that anymore without giggling), I love lemon, I love cheesecake, I love honey. I also love Bath and Body Works Lemon Vanilla Body Spray (which those meanie heads discontinued. I still haven’t forgiven them for that even if I DID buy enough to make a small country of people with bad B.O. smell yummy) and it was the inspiration for this recipe. When I wear it, I smell like a sexy lemon cupcake. But I didn’t want cupcakes. I have done the lemon cupcake thing in here recently. Not that that will stop me from making variations here in the future but still…
So I made cheesecake. But not just your typical lemon cheesecake. I love the combo of lemon and honey (I will also be doing a home made lemon honey marmalade soon) and decided to try it in cheesecake. But I also wanted to find a way to use up some blueberries that were shouting from the fridge that they were getting old and some apricots that were doing the same thing on the counter. So I made a blueberry/apricot compote to go with this as well as some candied lemon slices. Can we say “Oh.My.God.?” *wait for all of you to say oh my God”. You done now? Ok. This cheesecake is fantastic. It’s bright and sunny and refreshing with a nice lemon tang and a subtle hit of honey flavor. The compote spooned over it just adds this final fruity pizzazz and the candied lemon slices are sweet and tart and chewy and I wanted to hug them. But they’re sticky so I didn’t. I have long hair; no lemon slices stuck in hair please. So try this; I am pretty sure you won’t be disappointed. Unless you don’t like lemon or honey in which case why the heck would you make it anyway?
Decadent Lemon Honey Cheesecake
Blueberry/Apricot Compote And
Candied Lemon Slices
- Candied lemon Slices (optional)-
- 2 large lemons, sliced about 1/4 inch thick (a mandolin set on thick slice works great)
- 2 cups water plus more for initial cooking
- 1 1/2 cups sugar plus more for coating slices
- 2 cups vanilla wafer crumbs
- 5 tablespoons melted butter
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 24 ounces cream cheese, softened
- 1/4 cup all purpose flour
- 3 large eggs
- 1 1/2 cups honey
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon lemon extract
- zest from 2 large lemons
- 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice (if the 2 lemons don’t have that much, feel free to round it out with bottled)
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- Cheesecake Topping-
- 1 cup sour cream
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- Blueberry Apricot Compote-
- 1 pint fresh blueberries
- 6 apricots, quartered
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon lime zest
- 2 tablespoons lime juice
- For candied lemons-Add lemon slices to a large pot. Cover with water. Bring to a boil and let boil for about five minutes. Drain and rinse well. Do this procedure one more time. This helps leech out the bitterness of the peel.
- After the second time, put peels back in the pot with the 2 cups water and 1 1/2 cups sugar. Stir to combine. Cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until lemon slices are tender and translucent, about 90 minutes. Lay lemons slices in a single layer on a wire rack. Let them dry for 24 hours (this is why I say the lemon slices are optional. Up to you whether or not you want to commit to this amount of time for the full cheesecake idea). They will still be tacky. Drop them into a bowl or baggie) of sugar and toss to coat. Set aside. Also, don’t throw out the syrup left in the pot from the lemons. Pour it into a bowl or a canning jar and put it into the fridge. Due to the naturally high amounts of pectin, after a couple of hours, it will set up into a yummy sort of a lemon jelly which is great on toast or mixed with other ingredients to make a glaze for roast or grilled chicken.
- For cheesecake-Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly spray 9 inch spring form pan with cooking spray. Wrap pan well in heavy duty foil.
- Mix together the cookie crumbs, melted butter, 2 teaspoons sugar and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract in large bowl or food processor. Press mixture on to bottom and 1 inch up sides of prepared pan. Cook at 350 for five minutes. take out and set aside. Lower oven heat to 325.
- In a large bowl, beat cream cheese with flour until smooth. Don’t over beat. Over beating is one of the main reasons cheesecakes crack. It adds to much air to them.
- Add the eggs, honey, sugar, extracts, lemon zest and juice. On low speed, beat until smooth and creamy. Gently fold in the sour cream. Bang the bowl (carefully lol) a few times on the counter to help release some of the air bubbles.
- Put pan in a large high sided baking pan. Pour cheesecake batter into pan. Put the pan into the oven and carefully pour two cups of water around the pan. Bake at 325 until center is just barely set but still has a touch of jiggle to it. It will finish setting as it cools. When done, set spring-form pan on a wire rack and leave for 30 minutes then refrigerate for at least 4 hours. at least four hours to cool.
- When it has cooled, carefully loosen and remove the side of the spring-form pan. Scrape off all the goop that stuck to the sides and eat it.
- For compote- while cheesecake is cooking- in a medium sauce pot, combine all the compote ingredients. Stir well to coat apricots with lime juice to prevent discoloring (you can see in my photo that not all of mine got coated well. Learn from me grasshopper! ) Over low heat, cook, stirring constantly, just until sugar is dissolved. Spoon into a bowl; cover and refrigerate.
- Mix topping ingredients and spoon onto the top of the cheesecake. Smooth to make it look purty.
- To serve- put slices of cheesecake onto serving dishes and spoon a little of the compote over or around it. Add a candied lemon slice to the top and eat.