Limoncello is an Italian lemon liqueur mainly produced in Southern Italy. Even though there is debate about the origin of this drink, it is said to be at least 100 years old. Limoncello is very popular in Italy and is only just becoming popular in other parts of the world. It also happens to be a popular ingredient in cocktails and imparts a strong lemon flavor without the sourness or bitterness of pure lemon juice. Today I’m going to share a recipe with you using limoncello in a dessert. A guest that came over for dinner a few weeks back very kindly brought over a bottle, and I’ve been sampling this beauty in a few different ways :) Click here for more information on Italian limoncello liqueur.
I recall a family trip made to 3 different parts of Italy a few years ago. My favorite had to be Cinque Terre, a rugged portion of the coast on the Italian Riviera. It was here that I had my very first taste of this potent potion :) Cinque Terre when translated means Five small villages, they are set amidst some of the most dramatic coastal scenery on the planet, providing enough to bolster the most jaded of spirits writes The Lonely Planet.
8 ounces biscotti
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, melted
3 tablespoons grated lemon zest
1 (12 oz) container fresh whole milk ricotta, drained, at room temperature
2 (8 oz) packages cream cheese, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup limoncello liqueur
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
4 large eggs, at room temperature
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spray the bottom of a 9x9x2 in 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. Cool the crust completely on a cooling rack.
Blend the ricotta in a 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. Cut the cake into squares and serve.
and now…..sit back, help yourself to a serving and enjoy the beautiful scenery of Cinque Terre. Buon appetito!