Pistachio Cheesecake

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pistachio-cheesecake.jpg 3 (8 oz.) packages cream cheese, softened
1¼ cups  sugar, divided
4 eggs, at room temperature
2½ teaspoons vanilla, divided
1½ teaspoons lemon peel, grated
1 cup sour cream
Shortbread Crumb Pastry (recipe below)
¾ cup shelled, roasted/salted California pistachios, chopped

Beat cream cheese and 1 cup sugar until light and fluffy.  Add eggs, one at a time.  Add 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla and lemon peel.  Pour cream cheese mixture into Shortbread Crumb Pastry.  Bake at 350° F., 30-45 minutes or until firm; cool on rack 20 minutes. Combine sour cream ¼ cup sugar and 1 teaspoon vanilla.  Spread over top of cheesecake. Continue to bake at 350° F., 15 minutes.  Cool 2 hours on rack.  Refrigerate at least 8 hours.  Remove ring of springform pan.  Press pistachios into side of cheesecake and sprinkle pistachios in center of top. 

Makes approximately 16 servings.

Shortbread Crumb Pastry:
Crumble shortbread cookies to equal 1½ cups.  Combine with 3 tablespoons melted butter and 2 tablespoons each finely chopped pistachios and sugar; mix well.  Pat into bottom of 9-inch pan.

You can also make this with a traditional graham cracker crust.



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