Tag Archives: mascarpone

Loving Lemons: Lemon Mascarpone Cheesecake with Strawberries

Lemon Cheesecake

You say spring, and I say lemons. Bright, citrusy and readily available, we can count on lemons to greet us, as we shake off the winter doldrums and usher spring into our kitchens. This cheesecake is a springtime favorite. Creamy, elegant and redolent with lemon, it pairs mascarpone and cream cheese with rich results. Macerated strawberries are the final touch, bringing a little extra sunshine to your plate.

Lemon Mascarpone Cheesecake with Strawberries

An easy version of a timeless classic.  Prepare this cake one day before serving. Serves 10 – 12.

For the crust:
8 ounces graham crackers or digestive biscuits, broken in pieces
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted

For the filling:
20 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
8 ounces  Mascarpone cheese, room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
3 large eggs
2 tablespoons lemon zest
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

For the strawberries:
1 pound strawberries, hulled, halved
3 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

Make crust:
Preheat oven to 350 F. Tightly wrap the outside of a 9 inch springform pan with foil.
Combine graham crackers and brown sugar in bowl of food processor and finely grind.  Add butter and blend using on/off turns until crumbs are moist and clumping together.  Press crumbs evenly into bottom and 1 inch up side of springform pan.  Chill while preparing filling.

Make filling:
Beat cream cheese, mascarpone and sugar in bowl of electric mixer until light and fluffy.  Add eggs one at a time, beating 30 seconds after each.  Mix in lemon zest and juice. Pour filling into crust.  Place cake on a baking sheet. Bake until cake is puffed at edges and center moves slightly when shaken, about one hour.  Transfer to rack and cool completely.  Cover and chill overnight.

Make strawberries:
Toss strawberries with sugar and lemon juice in a large bowl.  Allow to sit one hour before serving.  (Can be prepared 3 hours in advance.  Cover and refrigerate.  Bring to room temperature before serving.)

To serve cake, run knife around sides of pan to loosen.  Release pan sides.  Place cake on plate and cut in slices.  Serve with strawberries.

Strawberry Cream Parfaits with Black Pepper and Balsamic Syrup

Strawberry Balsamic

Strawberries, balsamic vinegar and … black pepper? If you haven’t tried this combination, it’s high-time you did. Strawberries and balsamic vinegar pair beautifully. The murky sweetness of balsamic vinegar complements the strawberries, while it’s sharpness is softened by the perfumed fruit. Black pepper, the dark horse of this trio, slips into the background, discreetly brightening the flavors, with just a hint of a bite.

Traditionally, strawberries are simply tossed with a few tablespoons of vinegar and allowed to sit for an hour or two. In this recipe, the balsamic vinegar is transformed into a viscous syrup with sugar and lemon juice before tossing with the strawberries. In Italian terms, this would be the double shot of espresso in your cup.

These parfaits show off the macerated strawberries, layered with a dreamy mousse of whipped mascarpone cream. It’s an easy dessert to prepare with show-stopping results. Alternatively, serve the strawberries with ice cream, semifreddo or panna cotta – or simply as they are with a biscotti and that double espresso on the side.

Strawberry Cream Parfaits with Black Pepper and Balsamic Syrup

Begin this recipe at least one hour before serving. Each of the components may be made in advance for last minute assembly before serving. Serves 8-10.

For the syrup:
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

For the berries:
3 pounds strawberries
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

For the mascarpone cream:
1 1/2 cups whipping cream
8 ounces chilled mascarpone cheese
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Freshly grated lemon zest
Black pepper
Mint leaves

Prepare the syrup:
Combine vinegar, sugar and lemon juice in small saucepan. Heat over medium heat, stirring until sugar dissolves. Boil until syrup is reduced by half, about 4 minutes. Transfer to a small bowl and cool to room temperature. (Syrup may be made one day in advance. Cover and refrigerate).

Prepare the berries:
Reserve 8-10 whole strawberries. Hull and halve the remaining strawberries (quarter if large). Combine the hulled strawberries, the cooled syrup, sugar and black pepper in a bowl and gently toss to combine. Let sit at room temperature for at least 30 minutes or refrigerate up to 2 hours.

Prepare the mascarpone cream:
Combine whipping cream, mascarpone cheese, 1 tablespoon sugar and vanilla in bowl of electric mixer. Beat until soft peaks form. (May be prepared up to 4 hours in advance. Cover and refrigerate.)

Divide half the strawberries among 8-10 glasses or bowls. Spoon cream over the strawberries to cover. Spoon remaining strawberries over cream. Top with a dollop of cream. Drizzle with any remaining syrup. Garnish with reserved strawberry, lemon zest, black pepper and mint leaves.

Strawberry and Mascarpone Cream Parfait with Balsamic Syrup

Strawberry Mascarpone

It is strawberry season in our part of the world. The supermarkets and open air markets are displaying piles of luscious red strawberries, sweet and ripe, ready for eating.  Before we moved here, our home was in Denmark, which would be considered (very) northern Europe.  Summer is brief, and sunshine is not guaranteed.  At this time, strawberries would be available, but were imported from France or Spain, as the Danish spring would still be in its early stages. Danish strawberry season is fleeting – primarily for the month of June – and for that one month we would gorge ourselves on strawberries. We would pick our own at the nearby organic farm, or stop at roadside rest areas where people would sell their garden harvests from backs of pick-up trucks and car trunks. While driving on country backroads, at the end of long rural driveways, we would find lone tables perched under tilted garden umbrellas shielding cardboard boxes of just-picked strawberries from the fickle Danish sun. We would select our strawberries and pay our money into an unmanned cash box – all transactions done on the honor system, of course.

For this one month (if we were lucky, and it wasn’t a rainy season) we would stuff ourselves with strawberries. We would eat them plain and with cream, in trifles and pavlovas, in fruit soups and salads. When we gave up because we couldn’t eat them as fast as they arrived, we would freeze them for later in the year, as a tease and a whisper of our summer past.  And, finally, when we began to think that we couldn’t possibly eat another strawberry, the season would be finished.  Another fruit would replace it as the star of the show, strawberries would shift to the background and fade to a memory of summertime.  Until the next year.


This is a dessert I’ve prepared for dinner parties. It is more Italian in inspiration, easy to prepare and always a success, especially when prepared for my Danish family and friends who were weary of their more traditional Danish recipes:

Strawberry and Mascarpone Cream Parfaits with Balsamic Syrup and Mint
Serves 6-8

1/2 cup (80 ml.) balsamic vinegar
4 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

8 oz. (250 g.) chilled mascarpone cheese
2 cups (500 ml.) whipping cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 lbs. (1 kg.) strawberries, hulled and halved

6-8 whole strawberries
Fresh mint leaves
Lemon zest

Prepare the Balsamic Syrup:
Combine vinegar, 1 tablespoon sugar and lemon juice in small saucepan. Bring to a boil, stirring until sugar dissolves. Boil until syrup is reduced by half, about 4 minutes. Transfer to a small bowl and cool completely. (Syrup can be made one day in advance. Cover and refrigerate.)

Prepare the Mascarpone Whipped Cream:
In a mixing bowl combine mascarpone cheese, whipping cream, 2 tablespoons sugar and vanilla. Beat until soft peaks form. Cover and refrigerate up to 4 hours.

30 minutes before serving, combine strawberries and balsamic syrup in a bowl. Add 1 tablespoon sugar. Toss gently to combine. Let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes.

Divide half the strawberries among 8 glass goblets. Spoon half the cream mixture over the strawberries. Top cream mixture with remaining strawberries. Top with cream mixture. Drizzle with any remaining syrup.

Garnish with whole strawberries, grated lemon zest and mint leaves.