The City Magazine Since 1975

Limoncello Cheesecake

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1/2 cup ricotta cheese, drained,room temperature
3/4 cup cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
Pinch of fine sea salt
Zest of 1 lemon
1/4 cup limoncello
1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
2 eggs, room temperature
Pine nut and lavender shortbread crumbles (recipe below)
Blueberry sauce
Fresh blueberries, for garnish
Candied lemon wheels
Fresh lavender sprigs, for garnish

Pine Nut & Lavender Shortbread Crumbles
1 cup unsalted butter
1 tsp. dried lavender flowers
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/8 tsp. fine sea salt
2 cups all-purpose flour, sifted after measuring
3/4 cup pine nuts


Preheat oven to 325°F. Blend ricotta and cream cheeses in food processor until smooth. Add next six ingredients and process until smooth. Batter will be liquidy.

Prepare: Place four four-ounce silicone demisphere molds on baking sheet with one-inch sides. Portion half-cup of batter into each cavity. Gently pour hot water into baking sheet, filling up to sides but being careful not to get water into batter. The water bath insulates the cheesecake and keeps it from over-baking. Place baking sheet with molds into oven.

Bake cheesecakes for 20 minutes. Touch the top of each to test for doneness (should be firm and no batter should stick to finger). Remove from oven and cool to room temperature. Place still-molded cheesecakes in freezer. Once firm (at least four hours), unmold onto parchment paper-lined tray and allow to thaw in refrigerator.

Assemble: Place three-and-a-half-inch diameter ring mold or circular cookie cutter on plate. Fill with approximately two tablespoons of shortbread crumbles. Pack tightly with back of spoon. Carefully remove ring mold. Repeat on three more plates.

Place thawed cheesecake in center of each crumble circle. Garnish with blueberry sauce, fresh blueberries, candied lemon wheels, and fresh lavender.

Pine Nut & Lavender Shortbread Crumbles

Combine butter and flowers in microwavable container and lightly cover. (If using plastic wrap, be sure to vent corner.) Microwave until butter comes to a boil. Tighten cover and allow flavors to infuse for half an hour. Strain butter and discard lavender. Wrap butter and chill until firm but not completely solidified (one to two hours).

Using paddle attachment, beat butter in bowl of standing electric mixer until whipped, about one minute. Add sugar and salt; mix until just combined. Add flour and pine nuts and mix on low speed until just combined. Divide dough in half. Form into discs approximately a half-inch thick and wrap in plastic. Chill for one hour.

Preheat oven to 325°F. Crumble dough into hazelnut-sized pieces onto parchment-lined baking sheet with sides. Bake for five minutes. Remove pan from oven and redistribute crumbles with spatula. Rotate pan. Bake for five more minutes. Remove, redistribute, and rotate. Bake for another five minutes or until golden. Cool. If large chunks remain, process into crumbs in food processor. Store in airtight container.