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Thanks for Those I Love the Best and a Recipe for Lavender Honey Cheesecake

As we approach Mother’s Day, I would like to thank those who make me a mother.

First, I thank my husband, Andrew Fox, for taking on the baggage of a complicated woman and her three-year old daughter following said woman’s acrimonious divorce and the long, dark shadow it would cast for years to come. Cecilia is a kind, confident, loving, successful woman due in no small part to your patience and stability.

Next in line is Matt, my daughter’s partner of seven years and, like my husband, a patient, stable, courageous man. You shared wise, unflinching advice with Cecilia and me that allowed us to grow closer and to better understand one another in a way that has transformed my life.

Then there is the mighty Cecilia herself, a fierce fighter who never cops out, stands by her principles, and has the mettle to protect those she cares for, even at a cost. That you are using your intelligence and your skill as a scientist to better the lives of others is an abundant gift to this world.

Thanks for Those I Love the Best and a Recipe for Lavender Honey Cheesecake
Penny, Fannie, Mazie, Andrew and Hooch

Lastly, I need to thank my four needy dogs—Penny Lane (15), F.S. Fannie (3), and Mazie and Hooch (siblings, 8 months)— as well as Trampled Rose Rescue and Rehab, the organization for responsible for rescuing our puppies’ very pregnant mother as Hurricane Ida was bearing down. Our house looks like a nursery school, but it is full of joy and love.

Many mothers and grandmothers will find themselves alone for this Hallmark holiday that has taken on an absurd level of importance in our society. If one such lady is in your orbit operate on the assumption that this “holiday” is a loaded one for her and she could use some love. Do something nice for her. Invite her to your gathering, cook or bake a little extra or order an extra portion to share, make a bouquet, whatever. Your efforts may amount to the difference between a day that is bearable and one the is excruciating. One kind gesture from one person can change another’s life.

Lavender Honey Cheesecake

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Course: Dessert


Cooking time





I found this recipe in The Washington Post in 2009 and have made some variation of it every Spring, either for Easter, Mother’s Day or the random crawfish boil ever since. It is beautiful and easy to make ahead of time. Locally, you can find culinary grade lavender in the spice section at Whole Foods. Maison Peltier French lavender honey is a spectacular addition. It is available online through Yummy Bazar but any good quality floral honey will do just fine.


  • For Crust
  • 1 cup 1 vanilla wafer crumbs

  • 2 tablespoons 2 sugar

  • 3 tablespoons 3 unsalted butter, melted

  • For Filling
  • 8 whole 8 vanilla wafers, crumbled (1/2 cup)

  • 3 tablespoons 3 plus 2/3 cup good-quality honey, such as lavender (see note) or wildflower

  • 2 pounds 2 cream cheese, at room temperature (do not use low-fat or nonfat)

  • 4 whole 4 large eggs, at room temperature

  • 1 teaspoon 1 vanilla extract

  • For Topping
  • 1 cup 1 fresh or frozen blueberries, stemmed and washed

  • 1/4 cup 1/4 water

  • 2 tablespoons 2 sugar

  • 2 tablespoons 2 dried (culinary) lavender

  • 8 ounces 8 cream cheese, at room temperature (do not use low-fat or nonfat)

  • 1/2 cup 1/2 Greek-style yogurt

  • For Garnish
  • 1 1 Honey, mint leaves, or crystallized flowers (optional)


  • Position an oven rack in the middle of the oven; preheat to 350ºF degrees. Boil a kettle of water (for a bain-marie, or water bath). Wrap the outside of a 9-inch springform pan tightly with aluminum foil to make sure it is waterproof.
  • For the crust: Combine the wafer crumbs, sugar, and melted butter in a medium bowl, then press into the bottom and one inch up the sides of the springform pan.
  • For the filling: Combine the crumbled wafers and three tablespoons of the honey in a small bowl.
  • Beat the cream cheese in the bowl of a stand mixer or hand-held electric mixer on medium speed for several minutes, until it is smooth and creamy. Add the remaining 2/3 cup of honey; the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition; and the vanilla extract; stop often to scrape down the sides of the bowl.
  • Fold the wafer-honey mixture into the batter. Pour the filling into the prepared pan and place it in a larger roasting pan. Place the pan on the middle oven rack; use the boiled water to fill the pan so the water level comes about one-third to halfway up the sides of the springform pan. Bake for 1 hour, until the filling is set but still slightly wobbly in the center.
  • While the cake is baking, prepare the topping: Combine the blueberries, water, and sugar in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Cook, stirring, for about 5 minutes, until the berries are very soft.
  • Add the lavender and remove from the heat. Let the mixture steep for 15 minutes, then transfer to a blender and puree. Strain through a fine-mesh strainer, pressing on the solids to extract as much liquid as possible. There should be about 1/4 cup of lavender syrup; discard the solids.
  • Beat the cream cheese in the bowl of a stand mixer or hand-held electric mixer on medium speed for several minutes, until it is smooth and creamy. Reduce the speed to low, then add the yogurt and the lavender syrup. If needed, use a spatula to make sure the mixture is blended thoroughly.
  • Remove the springform pan from the bain-marie and place on a wire rack; let it rest for 5 minutes, then spread the topping evenly over the cheesecake. Cool completely, then cover and refrigerate overnight (still in the springform pan).
  • When ready to serve, remove the cheesecake from the springform pan and place the cake on a platter. If desired, drizzle with honey or garnish each slice with a mint leaf or crystallized flowers.

Happy Mother’s Day!

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