When I made my first ever cheesecake recently, I knew I was hooked! 

As my family’s favourite flavour is lemon, the choice for my second cheesecake attempt was an easy one.  Feeling inspired by the Bailey’s concept, I decided that I could make this one based on the delightful Lemon liquor ; Crema di Limoncello. 

For those of you who just want to go directly to my recipe – click here

If you’ve not heard of it, Limoncello is a lemon liquor mainly made in Southern Italy.  We visited the beautiful town of Sorrento just last year (gosh, was that really only a year ago? 2020 has certainly distorted time hasn’t it? I feel that our trip was from another lifetime, not just last year!)  Sorrento, known as the town of lemons,  is in Southern Italy.  It overlooks the Bay of Naples and is set in the Amalfi coast, which is a stunning area in itself, with outstanding coastal roads and beautiful hillside towns.  Sorrento itself has the typical and delightful Italian winding streets that take you on a journey of discovery through sights, sounds and tastes to tantalise your senses for many years to come.  The narrow streets opening onto busy piazza’s, where the locals and tourists alike sit and enjoy watching life with a cup of strong Italian coffee, or perhaps a glass of crisp cool wine in the soothing Southern sunshine.

The Italian’s pride themselves on appreciating social time with family, with good food and drink being at the heart of that.   Much like our Christmastime. And so, it seemed fitting that for this Christmas I create a cheesecake which not only includes the delightful lemon ingredient Limoncello, but that it reflects my interpretation of the expressive Italian culture; a food perfect for sharing with friends and family.   Perhaps this year sharing will need to take place in a different way, but there’s nothing to stop us from wrapping slices up and passing them on; leaving as doorstep deliveries sent with love.  I did this with my Bailey’s one and it was very much appreciated.

I bought the Limoncello that I used in this cheesecake, in Sorrento. It’s a crème version which lent itself nicely to the richness of this dessert (yes, somehow I’ve managed to hold onto it for this long, although that’s only because I ‘put it away’ for safekeeping and forgot about it – until very recently when I came across it again and realised I needed to use it or lose it – It won’t keep forever!)  However, you can buy this online and in many main supermarkets.  For me, and especially for this Christmas, I rather like that I’ve brought a little reminder of the Italian sunshine home, and am using it here and now to warm my soul on a cold and bleak winter’s week in UK lockdown (I’m in Tier 3, so it’s pretty much a continuation of lockdown for us.)

So the recipe is essentially the same as the Bailey’s one, from the BBC good food site (I was inspired for that one by our focused friend Tracy White)  I simply exchanged the Bailey’s for Limoncello.   I did add a little lemon extract as I wanted a stronger lemon flavour, but that’s to individual taste and not completely necessary.  It worked for me though.

When I’d completed the cheesecake, I did wonder how to decorate it.  I contemplated adding whisked cream to the top but decided that I would prefer the simplicity of the cheesecake on its own. Again, personal taste – if you try the cream as a topping, please do let me know how that works out.  Seeking inspiration, I looked around me and suddenly I had an idea. Into my cupboard I delved, and happily found a cute little snowman cake topper, together with some of my absolute favourite decorating dust…. Edible glitter.  It’s magical.  If you’ve not used it, you simply must!  Especially with Christmas desserts. 

As I sprayed the dust, my cheesecake began to resemble the snow scene I’d visualised and I was a happy girl!   A few white chocolate buttons completed my snow scene design adding just a little extra decadence to the whole taste sensation, without being too overpowering.

Limoncello Cheesecake Recipe for 9 inch cheesecake, (based on the BBC Good food basic recipe and modified by Debbie Walker)

Ingredients

  •  100g/3½oz unsalted butter
  •  250g/8¾oz Digestive biscuits (crushed).
  •  450g/1lb Philadelphia cream cheese
  •  100ml of creme di limoncello
  • 1 spoon of lemon extract (to own taste)
  •  100ml/3½oz icing sugar
  •  200ml/10½oz double cream
  •  small pack of white chocolate buttons

Method

  • Gently melt the butter in a saucepan. Add the crushed biscuits and mix until the butter has been absorbed.
  •  Remove from the heat and, while still warm, press the mixture (using the back of a spoon) into the bottom of a lined 23cm/9inch springform or flan tin. Leave to set for one hour in the fridge.
  •  While it is chilling, whip the cream until it forms soft peaks.
  •  In a separate bowl, beat the cream cheese until it is soft. Beat in the icing sugar and add the limoncello. Fold in the whipped cream. When the mixture is smooth, pour it evenly onto the biscuit base.
  •  Refrigerate and allow to set overnight. Note – if the cake is still too soft, leave longer in the fridge. 
  •  To serve, decorate to own preference.

I hope that you have a go making this Limoncello cheesecake, and if you enjoy it as much as my family and I did, then please do like or comment below.   I shall certainly be including one of these in my Christmas fare.

© Debbie Walker

Bailey’s Cheesecake – https://focusedfriends.com/2020/11/23/baileys-cheesecake-2/