Loving Lemons: Lemon Mascarpone Cheesecake with Strawberries

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.