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Limoncello di Leelanau Cheese Cake

Crust Ingredients:

8 oz. Butter or Shortbread Cookies (crushed)

1 Tbs Sugar

1/4 tsp. Salt

1/3 Cup Melted Butter (plus additional for brushing pan)

Filling Ingredients:

1 1/4 Cup Sour Cream*

24 oz. Cream Cheese*

3/4 Cup Sugar

4 Whole Eggs (large eggs at room temperature are best)

2 Egg Yolks

1/3 Cup Limoncello Di Leelanau

Zest of 1 lemon (finely grated)

1/4 Cup Fresh Lemon Juice

1/4 tsp. Salt

1 1/2 tsp. Vanilla Extract

Tips: Bring cream cheese and sour cream to room temperature, or you will have a case of the lumpy cheesecake blues. Also, please don't use low fat or reduced fat, as they won't react well with the citrus and you will have curdled dairy.


Preheat your oven to 325 degrees F. Brush a 9" by 3" cake pan with Melted Butter and line sides and bottom with parchment paper (do not skip this me)! Then lightly brush outside of parchment with melted butter.

In a small bowl, combine crushed Cookies, melted Butter and 1 Tbs of Sugar and Salt. Once mixed well, press all of mixture into the bottom of lined cake pan, and bake in 325 oven for 10 minutes.

In a mixer with a paddle attachment or in a large bowl with a hand mixer, beat Sour Cream for 10 seconds. Add Cream Cheese and Sugar and mix on low for 30 seconds, stop and scrape the bowl, then mix on medium for another 30 seconds, or until lumps disappear.

Meanwhile, get a kettle of water heating on the stove.

Now add Eggs and Yolks, one at a time, stopping to scrape the bowl frequently. Add all remaining filling ingredients (Limoncello Di Leelanau, Lemon Zest and Juice, salt, and Vanilla), scraping the bowl one last time. Once completely combined, pour into the cooled crust.

Lower oven temperature to 275 degrees F. Place Cheesecake into a larger pan that will hold hot water, and set in oven. Gently pour hot water (from kettle) into large pan, until it reaches 3/4 up the outside of the cheesecake pan. Close oven and bake 1 hour. When 1 hour is done, shut off heat and open oven door for 1 minute, then close oven door and leave cheesecake in for 1 more hour. When done, remove pan from hot water bath and transfer to refrigerator to cool for at least six hours (don't rush this, your patience will pay off).

When ready to serve, place bottom of cake pan in hot water bath for 15 seconds(to melt butter that you brushed pan with) then unmold onto a plate (it will be upside down) and lay platter on top of cake bottom and flip. Gently peel off parchment, stand back and marvel at this lemony masterpiece, then dig in! ENJOY! You will want some whipped cream for good measure!

Recipe by Sarah Moseler Drews


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