I love cheesecake and limoncello, the wonderful lemon liqueur from Southern Italy, so when I came across a recipe for limoncello cheesecake squares in Giada De laurentiss' Giada's Family Dinners cookbook it sounded like a match made in heaven for our lemon dessert loving family.
With a half bottle of limoncello in the freezer and the rest of the required ingredients in the refrigerator and pantry, I whipped up a batch of these light and creamy lemon cheesecake squares yesterday.
Although they didn't have the opportunity to chill for a full eight hours before we sampled them for dessert last night, no one saw fit to complain.
These limoncello cheescake squares were subtle, refreshing, decadent and ethereal, just like Giada describes.
I made a few changes to the recipe I should mention.
First, I replaced the suggested biscotti crust for a melba toast crust that appears in the October 2008 issue of Eating Well.
Since most purchased biscotti have nuts, something we avoid because of allergies, and melba toast was sitting in the pantry, it seemed like a logical substitution that worked well, providing a lightly sweet crunchy crust.
Standard supermarket ricotta was used in place of fresh and an open jar of lemon curd in the refrigerator screamed to be included in the fun, so I added 2 heaping tablespoons for a little extra lemon zing.
You should be able to find limoncello at most well-stocked liquor stores.
Limoncello Cheesecake Squares Recipe
- Nonstick cooking spray
- 8 ounces purchased biscotti (or 8 ounces melba toast and 3 tablespoons sugar)
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 3 tablespoons grated lemon zest
- 1 12 ounce container fresh whole-milk ricotta cheese, drained
- 2 8-ounce packages cream cheese, softened
- 1 ¼ cups sugar
- ½ cup limoncello
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoons purchased lemon curd (optional)
- 4 large eggs
Preheat the oven to 350F. Spray the bottom of a 9-inch square baking pan with cooking spray and set aside. Break the biscotti into pieces and grind them to fine crumbs in the food processor . Add the melted butter and 1 tablespoon of the lemon zest and process until the crumbs are moistened. Press the crumb mixture into the bottom of the prepared baking pan. Bake until the crust is golden, about 15 minutes. Transfer the pan to a cooling rack and cool the crust completely.
Clean out the food processor bowl and blend the ricotta until smooth. Add the cream cheese and sugar; and blend well, stopping the machine occasionally and scraping down the sides. Blend in the limoncello, vanilla, remaining 2 tablespoons lemon zest, and lemon curd (if using). Add the eggs and pulse just until blended.
Pour the cheese mixture over the crust in the pan. place the baking pan in large roasting pan. Pour enough hot water into the roasting pan to come halfway up the sides of the smaller pan. Bake until the lemon cheesecake is golden but the center of the cake jiggles a little when the pan is gently shaken, about 1 hour. The cheesecake will firm as it cools.
Transfer the pan to a cooling rack ; cool for 1 hour. Refrigerate until the cheesecake is cold, at least 8 hours and up to 2 days. Cut the cheesecake into squares and serve.
Source: This Limoncello Cheesecake recipe is from Giada's Family Dinners by Giada De Laurentiis
*PointsPlus® and SmartPoints® calculated by Simple Nourished Living; Not endorsed by Weight Watchers International, Inc. All recipe ingredients except optional items included in determining nutritional estimates. SmartPoints® values calculated WITHOUT Weight Watchers Zero Points fruits and vegetables using the WW Recipe Builder.
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