Have you ever gone foraging for elderberries? They grow wild over much of Europe and North America, and they produce berries in abundance.
They also make a richly flavorful jelly or syrup, which our family loves.
One of our favorite ways to use elderberry syrup is to make Lemon & Elderberry Cheesecake.
I love the flavor of lemon, and it just seemed a perfect pair for my elderberry syrup. I started with a basic cheesecake recipe, and adapted it for this gorgeous (and delicious!) creation.
- 1½ cups graham cracker crumbs
- ¼ cup butter, melted
- 2 tsp. granulated sugar (optional)
- 2 packages (~250 g each) cream cheese
- ½ to ⅔ cup granulated sugar
- ½ tsp. vanilla
- 1½ tsp. lemon zest
- 2 to 3 Tbsp. lemon juice
- 1 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
- 2 eggs
- ½ to 1 cup Elderberry syrup
- Heat your oven to 350 degrees F. Line a springform pan with parchment.
- For the crust: Thoroughly mix the graham cracker crumbs, butter, and 2 tsp. sugar. (I don't add the sugar - the graham crackers are sweet enough without it for our taste. Have you ever made your own graham crackers? They're incredibly delicious.) Press into the bottom of the springform pan. (You can work them up the sides a bit if you want. I keep the crust on the bottom only.
- For the Cheesecake
- Beat the cream cheese and ½-2/3 cup granulated sugar until thoroughly blended. (Start with half a cup, if you don't like it too sweet. You can taste it just before adding the eggs and add more then if it's not sweet enough. It will depend on the lemon juice you use.)
- Add the vanilla, and the lemon zest and juice. Mix well. (Fresh squeezed lemon juice is the best, but bottled lemon juice will work. It's just a bit more sharp.) Sprinkle the flour over the whole mixture and blend thoroughly.
- Taste the mixture, and add a bit more sugar or lemon juice if needed.
- Add the eggs one at a time, and beat thoroughly after each one. Pour the cream cheese mixture over the crush and gently level.
- Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until the center is just barely set. Allow to cool. (Refrigerate for at least 2-3 hours.)
- Release the cake from the springform pan and gently transfer it to a cake or serving platter. Just before serving, drizzle the elderberry syrup over the cheesecake. Garnish with lemon peel if desired. Serve.
For a bit of added visual pleasure… Enjoy.