Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Limoncello Cheesecake Bars

I love to bake and cook with my friend Rebekah. A couple of months ago she told me about Giada's Limoncello Cheesecake bars, but you need time for them to chill in the refrigerator for 8 hours. We didn't have 8 hours, she lives 45 minutes away and well we wanted to eat them on my day visit.  So I shelved the recipe and the next time I planned to visit her I made them a day in advance.  Giada's recipe is below but can also be found here.

Let me tell you my house smelled amazing when I baked the crust. So you can imagine when I put the cheesecake in the oven how amazing it smelled. This is a rich tasting summer treat. I am not the biggest cheesecake person but we really enjoyed every bite.  So try it out this summer. Enjoy!

 Baked crust.
Lemon zest.
 Mixing the batter in a food processor.
About to bake and my friends mom's homemade Limoncello.  
You need that proof of vodka and she does use Smirnoff.

8 ounces purchased biscotti (I bought Almond Biscotti from Trader Joe's)6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, melted
  • 3 tablespoons grated lemon zest
  • 1 (12-ounce) container fresh whole milk ricotta, drained, at room temperature
  • 2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup limoncello liqueur (my friends mom made her own so I used that but you can purchase from the store.)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 4 large eggs, at room temperature

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spray the bottom of a 9 by 9 by 2-inch baking pan with nonstick cooking spray.
Finely grind the biscotti in a food processor. Add the melted butter and 1 tablespoon of lemon zest and process until the crumbs are moistened. Press the crumb mixture over the bottom (not the sides) of the prepared pan. Bake until the crust is golden, about 15 minutes. (Your whole house will smell amazing) Cool the crust completely on a cooling rack.
Blend the ricotta in a clean food processor until smooth. Add the cream cheese and sugar and blend well, stopping the machine occasionally and scraping down the sides of the work bowl. Blend in the limoncello, vanilla, and remaining 2 tablespoons of lemon zest. Add the eggs one at a time, and pulse just until blended. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.
Pour the cheese mixture over the crust in the pan. Place the baking pan in a large roasting pan. Pour enough hot water into the roasting pan to come halfway up the sides of the baking pan. Bake until the cheesecake is golden and the center of the cake moves slightly when the pan is gently shaken, about 1 hour (the cake will become firm when it is cold).
Transfer the cake to a rack; cool 1 hour. Refrigerate until the cheesecake is cold, at least 8 hours and up to 2 days. Cut the cake into squares and serve.

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