Lemon Mascarpone Cheesecake

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September 12, 2012 by Bloke In A Kitchen

Both my daughter and I love the taste of zesty lemons, (she’ll happily suck on slices of lemon, AND even lime) and this Italian inspired treat hits the spot.  My 3 year old daughter, who helped with some of the stirring, flour sieving, egg cracking (with some assistance!) and final tasting, also loved bashing the biscuits with a rolling pin.

I based this cheesecake on a recipe from the excellent ‘Italian Cakes and Desserts‘ book by Ursula Ferrigno.  Track down recipes for Italian / Mediterranean cakes and desserts, as you’ll find some nice new ideas, and they’re not packed with nearly so much sugar like many Northern European ones.

Ingredients

Makes: 1 delicious cheesecake which won’t hang around for very long.
  • 175g (6 oz) Amaretti biscuits (or plain Digestives)
  • 75g (3 oz) unsalted butter
  • 400g (14 oz) mascarpone cheese
  • grated zest of 3 unwaxed lemons
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 100g (4 oz) caster sugar
  • 2 free range eggs, separated
  • 2 level tablespoons of cornflour
  • 1 small pinch of salt

Optional:

  • Icing sugar for dusting
  • Raspberries or strawberries – to decorate

Preparation method

Prep: 25 mins | Cook: 35 mins

1.  Pre-heat your oven to 180 C / Gas 4. Grease and line a deep loose bottomed, round, 20cm (8 inch) cake tin.
2.  Put the biscuits in a plastic bag, and crush with a rolling pin until you’ve got a nice crumb.
3.  Gently melt the butter. Add the biscuit crumbs to the melted butter and mix well. Then add this base mixture to the bottom of your greased cake tin, and allow to cool a little.
4.  Put the mascarpone cheese, lemon zest, lemon juice, sugar and egg yolks in a bowl, and gently mix well. Then sprinkle in the cornflour, and gently fold in.
5.  In a separate bowl, whisk the egg whites with a pinch of salt, until they’re stiff.  (This can take a while if like me you don’t have a fancy electric whisking machine)  Fold the fluffy egg whites into the cheese mixture (do this gently and slowly, this will help the finished cheesecake to be light and fluffy).
6.  Spread the mixture on top of the biscuit base in the cake tin. Spread with a spatula to get a nice level smooth surface.
7.  Whack in the oven for 35 minutes. It should be firm to the touch when it’s ready. Allow to cool to room temperature, and then chill in the fridge.
8.  Once cooled, you can then dust with icing sugar (if you add icing sugar before it’s well chilled, the icing sugar just disappears and melts into the cheesecake). Add some raspberries or strawberries to decorate, or whatever takes your fancy.

 

Recipe options:  Any soft cheese or cream cheese similar to mascarpone would be fine.  Not Dairylea though!

Personally, I think using plain digestives would be even better in this (and cheaper), as the Amaretti biscuits I used were VERY almond-y. A slightly plainer biscuit would probably combine even better with the lemon cheesecake. Either way, a lovely, simple cheesecake.

Unwaxed lemons are preferable, but if you don’t have them scrub and wash the lemons in warm water first to remove the wax.

Enjoy!

Richard “Bloke In A Kitchen”

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