Copyright Thomas Saaristo  All Rights Reserved
Limoncello cheesecake
Butter, for the pan
1 cup graham cracker crumbs
6 tablespoons 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, see Bakers note
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
4 large eggs, at room temperature

Heat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit

Butter the bottom of a 9 x 9 x 2 baking pan. Pour the graham cracker crumbs into a
medium bowl. Add the melted butter and 1 tablespoon of lemon zest, and stir until
fully incorporated. Press the crumb mixture over the bottom [not up the side] 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 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 cools)

Transfer the cake to a rack; cool 1 hour. Cover and refrigerate until the cheesecake is
cold and firm, at least 8 hours and up to 2 days. Cut the cake into squares and serve.

Bakers note: Limoncello liqueur can be found at most liquor stores and in the liquor
department of some specialty markets. If Limoncello is unavailable, make your own!

10 lemons
1 750 ml bottle vodka
3 1/2 cups water
2 1/2 cups sugar

Use a vegetable peeler to remove the peel from the lemons in long strips (reserve the
lemons for another use). Using a small sharp knife, trim away the white pith from the
lemon peels; discard the pith. Place the lemon peels in a 2 quart pitcher. Pour the
vodka over the peels and cover with plastic wrap. Steep the lemon peels in the vodka
for 4 days at room temperature

Stir the water and sugar in a large saucepan over medium heat until the sugar
dissolves, about 5 minutes. Cool completely. Pour the sugar syrup over the vodka
mixture. Cover and let stand at room temperature overnight. Strain the Limoncello
through a mesh strainer. Discard the peels. Transfer the Limoncello to sterilized
bottles. Seal the bottles and refrigerate until cold, at least 4 hours and up to 1 month