Yield: approximately 16 servings.
3 packages Cream cheese, softened
1 1/4 cups Sugar, divided
4 Eggs, at room temperature
2 1/2 teaspoons Vanilla, divided
1 1/2 teaspoons Lemon peel, grated
1 cup Sour cream
Shortbread Crumb Pastry (recipe below)
3/4 cup Shelled, roasted/salted American pistachios, chopped
Beat cream cheese and 1 cup sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time. Add 1 1/2 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, 1/4 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.
Shortbread Crumb Pastry: Crumble shortbread cookies to equal 1 1/2 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.