My Lemon Cheesecake Recipe is made with a combination of cream cheese and mascarpone and topped with a white chocolate ganache. The creamy goodness paired with the lemon flavor makes this the perfect dessert for the spring and summer seasons.
I’ve found many uses for mascarpone, the Italian version of cream cheese that Mama Jeanette shared with me so many years ago, and cheesecake is one of my favorites.
The lemon juice added a deliciously bright flavor that made this creamy lemon dessert the Perfect Cheesecake to serve your family and friends making any day into a special occasion.
What Ingredients do I need to make a Lemon Cheesecake?
Let’s start by gathering the ingredients we need to make my lemon cheesecake with a white chocolate ganache. In Chef Speak this is called the “Mise en Place” which translates to “Everything in its Place”.
Not only does setting your ingredients up ahead of time speed up the cooking process, it also helps ensure you have everything you need to make the dish.
Can I use Meyer Lemons instead of regular lemons to mak my cheesecake?
Absolutely! In fact, in my original recipe, I used Meyer lemons, but since they’re not always available I changed them out with regular lemons.
How to make a graham cracker nut crust?
- Place the graham crackers in the bowl of a food processor and pulse to fine crumbs. Then place the graham cracker crumbs in a medium bowl.
- Add the pistachios to the food processor and pulse until finely ground. Add the ground pistachios to the mixing bowl.
- Add the melted butter to the graham cracker crumbs and nuts and mix well.
- Press the crumb mixture into the bottom of a 10-inch cheesecake pan.
- Bake the crust for 10-12 minutes at 325 degrees
Do I have to use pistachios in the cheesecake crust?
No, you don’t. If you prefer a plain graham cracker crust that works too. I happen to love pistachios and thought that changing up the crust would be a delicious way to use pistachios. You can use another type of nut or leave them out altogether, it’s up to you.
*If you choose not to use nuts, replace them with one-half cup of additional graham cracker crumbs.
How to make a lemon cheesecake filling:
Get these two items prepared before making the cheesecake filling.
- Place a pan big enough to hold the springform pan with a little room around the sides into the 325 degree preheated oven. Add about an inch and a half of water to the pan.
- Prepare the cheesecake pan with the baked crust by wrapping it with foil around the bottom and partway up the side of the pan.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, add the cream cheese, mascarpone, sugar, lemon juice, lemon zest and vanilla (you can also use an electric hand mixer for my lemon cheesecake recipe).
- Using the paddle attachment beat until smooth. Scraping the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed.
- Add the eggs one at a time, beat on low speed just until combined. Scraping the sides of the bowl as needed.
- Pour the cheesecake mixture into the prepared and cooled crust.
- Carefully place the filled springform pan into the water bath in the oven (you can use a roasting pan or baking pan).
- Bake the cheesecake at 325° for 60-70 minutes or until the center is just set and the top begins to brown.
Do I have to use Mascarpone to make my Lemon Cheesecake?
No, you don’t. You can use all cream cheese for this recipe. Mascarpone is a little lighter and I like how it adds creaminess to the recipe, but it will still be ah-mazingly delicious with just cream cheese.
How to Make a White Chocolate Ganache:
- In a microwave-safe container, microwave the heavy cream for 20-30 seconds.
- Pour the heated heavy cream over the white chocolate, making sure that most of the white chocolate is covered. Let stand for 5 minutes.
- Stir in a gentle, circular motion until the white chocolate has melted completely and the mixture is smooth. If necessary the mixture can be microwaved for a few seconds more
- Pour white chocolate ganache over the top of the cheesecake (allow the cheesecake to cool before adding the ganache).
- Refrigerate the cheesecake until the chocolate sets up, about 30 minutes, then remove from the springform pan.
If you like lemon, this version of my cheesecake should be on your must-make list, and when you do make it, I hope you enjoy it as much as Lisa and I did.
These are the spatulas I use in my kitchen. They are durable, heat resistant and easy to keep clean.
Lemon juice is an acidic ingredient that gives cheesecake what it needs to have the right structure in order to stay together. The acid of the lemon juice reacts to the fatty proteins, which gives you that nice thick texture that we love in cheesecakes.
Mascarpone has a looser, velvety texture and a richer mouthfeel similar to double-crème brie. American cream cheese contains about 55% butterfat, while mascarpone contains 75% butterfat. American-style cream cheese is firmer and brighter tasting than mascarpone, which gives it that distinct flavor.
Most cheesecake recipes call for either sour cream or heavy cream. They both do the same thing, which is softening the texture of the cheese and adding some moisture. Greek yogurt can also be used in lieu of sour cream or heavy cream.