Blackberry Poppy Seed Cheesecake

Coming at you as recipe #21 is another lovely-to-look-at cheesecake.  Cheesecake is simply the bomb diggity.  It pairs beautifully with tea or coffee.  Its the perfect recipe to whip up for any celebration or get together, as its an easy one and always a crowd pleaser.  Plus, the possibilities for flavor combinations are wide open.  Its rich but not overwhelming.  Sweet but not too sweet.  Creamy, totally delicious.

I have been smitten with this particular dessert (OK lets be real, all desserts) since I was roughly twelve years old.  But the moment I truly fell in love with it was at my family’s little cottage where we used to spend a week or two every summer throughout my childhood, right on Lake Superior.  Many of my most loved and nostalgic memories take place with our “camp” (as well called it) as the setting.

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This would be me with my little brother during one of these said camp summers.

During the particular summer when I was first introduced to cheesecake, I was on the cusp of my teenage years, which is a period that comes with more free reign than being a child offers.  I had my own money.  I could actually buy certain things that I wanted, of my own accord.  The power and thrill that came with that, watch out.  I used some of my meager funds to purchase a box of Sarah Lee Cheesecake Bites, which I had never sampled prior to this summer.  Since then, I haven’t looked back.  My love affair with cheesecake has only deepened over the years.

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A man I dated briefly about a year ago nearly caused me to fall out of my seat when he told me during our get-to-know-you conversation that 1. he was a professional chef and 2. his specialty?  Cheesecake.  My jaw dropped.  The one heartbreak from that short and sweet handful of dates with this (another perk, admittedly beautiful) man?  That I never had the chance to sample this supposedly earth moving cheesecake.  Oh, the regret!

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Earl Gray Lavender Cheesecake

Recipe #17 is not only delicious but lovely to look at, as you can see.  I decided to play with my passion for cheesecake this weekend and whip one up.  However, I didn’t just want to make any old cheesecake.  I wanted to come up with a slightly more unique flavor combination than the usual offerings one finds with cheesecake flavorings.

I have been using lavender a lot lately, especially in my pancakes.  One of my most raved about recent pancake varieties is my blueberry lavender recipe.  So naturally, all this lavender I have been working with as of late sparked a bulb when considering cheesecake possibilities.  I have also heard of all things earl gray flavored being a trendy as well as simultaneously rather timeless flavor, especially in combination with recipes involving creams or sweets.  So I put two and two together and that set the course of my experiment.

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I am excited to report rave reviews from the handful of people who sampled it.  This recipe is refined sugar-free as well as gluten free.  Its not lactose-free.  Personally, I don’t think a cheesecake is cheesecake unless its made of cream cheese.  While I have sampled some excellent raw cheesecakes which are dairy-free (and I plan to attempt one for this very website at some point in the near future ;-)), I had to go with a legit cheesecake (aka, with dairy) for this particular recipe (just minus the sugar and gluten).

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Pumpkin Cheesecake

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Recipe #9 (get excited, its a good one).  It doesn’t get much more “New England” than this.  And being a born and bred New Englander myself, this is one of the many things I have longed for since having moved to Europe.

When a beautiful thing called autumn comes along which results in an fiery explosion throughout the trees (Google: New Hampshire during autumn.  You will see what I am talking about), the temperatures dropping steadily, consumption of hot drinks growing ever so enticing, boots, plaid and wool jackets coming out in abundance, scarves wrapping enthusiastically around necks and roaring fires beginning to occupy ones home hearth more and more often as the weeks continue to pass, one more stellar thing happens.

A massive onslaught of all things pumpkin flavored begins.  Pumpkin pie, pumpkin pastas, pumpkin donuts, pumpkin lattes, pumpkin muffins and cookies, pumpkin pancakes (wink, wink) and yes, pumpkin cheesecake.

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