Blondie-Bottom Limoncello Cheesecake combines the toffee flavor of blondies with a light lemon cheesecake that’s not too sweet. Perfect with coffee or a glass of white wine.
Right now is a time of goodbyes. This morning I said goodbye to a close friend and mentor, Sister Luise Ahrens. She’s an amazing person who has spent her adult life in the service of others – mostly in Southeast Asia. She’s been in Cambodia since right after the Khmer Rouge “lost” in the 1980’s. She’s a university administrator by training so she helped re-establish the oldest university in Cambodia, The Royal University of Phnom Penh. This was no small feat since the Khmer Rouge wiped out all but one professor and the communist party in the 1980’s awarded university positions as political favors rather than on the basis of qualifications.
Sister Luise raised funds from American donors to send promising young Cambodians to school in the US, Australia, Japan and Korea. Many of these Cambodians are now leaders who are bringing change to the country. She funded training on administrative tasks for university staff so they could begin implementing quality assurance and standard accounting practices.
She also helped foreigners like me adjust to the chaos that is Cambodia. I’ve been privileged to have coffee with her and other foreign staff nearly every morning at 9:30 AM. We’ve discussed local politics, events, university business, cultural issues and so much more. When I couldn’t find measuring cups to make the recipes for this blog, Sister Luise bought me some. She’s been my taste tester on nearly every recipe I’ve posted here. She’s quite blunt about whether or not it’s good enough so the recipes that don’t get two thumbs up from her don’t get published here.
Tomorrow morning, she leaves for a month-long visit to the US and she’s retiring in January. She’ll go back to New York when she retires so she won’t be here when I come back next year. I’m not sure I’ll get to see her again. She’s full of life but at 78 one never knows.
I wanted our last coffee to be special so I brought this blondie-bottom Limoncello cheesecake. Limoncello is an Italian liquor made from lemon zest, sugar and strong alcohol (vodka works well). It’s very similar to lemon extract but has added sugar so it’s sweeter. Many of my Italian friends use it as lemon flavoring in their baking. Even though Limoncello is sweetened, it’s not too sweet so the lemon flavor comes through.
The blondie batter is thick enough that you don’t need to worry about it leaking through the cracks in the springform pan. The sweetness of the blondies pairs really well with the tart lemon cheesecake.
If you like this, you might also like this Limoncello Raspberry Bundt Cake.
Or this Limoncello tiramisu from Wonky Wonderful.