Mascarpone cheese is a soft creamy mass that is the basis for the production of sweets cakes all over the world. Mascarpone can be made from oily sour cream, cottage cheese cream or lemon juice. Which of the three recipes to choose depends only on individual preferences. Make sure the ingredients, especially the cream cheese, are at room temperature before you start mixing the filling. Cold cream cheese and eggs will result in a lumpy cheesecake batter. Also, turn off the oven and let the cheesecake cool with the door slightly ajar to prevent cracks.
For the crust, preheat oven to 180 degrees Celcius then butter the inside of a 9-inch springform pan, and wrap the bottom of the pan with a double layer of aluminium foil. Place the prepared pan on a baking sheet. In a medium bowl, stir together the graham cracker crumbs, sugar and salt. Add the butter and stir well to moisten all of the crumbs.
Pour the crumb mixture into the prepared pan and use your fingers to press gently into an even layer on the bottom and halfway up the sides of the pan. If you are having trouble getting the layer even, use a straight-sided glass or measuring cup to gently press the crumb mixture onto the sides and into the corners. Freeze the crust for 10 minutes while the oven heats.
Using a stand mixer or an electric hand mixer, beat the cream cheese in a large bowl until it is light and very smooth, about 4 minutes. With the mixer running on medium-low speed, slowly pour in the sugar, then the salt. Beat for 3 more minutes. Add the vanilla extract and lemon zest. Add in the eggs, one at a time, and beat for a full minute after each egg. Scrape down the bowl, reduce the speed to low. Add in the mascarpone and mix thoroughly.
Place the springform in the oven and bake the cheesecake until it is lightly golden on the edges and the filling is set, but still slightly wobbly in the centre for about 35 to 40 minutes.
- 125g butter, melted
- 500g biscuits, crushed
- 4 egg whites
- 4 egg yolks
- 100g icing sugar
- 250g mascarpone
- 50g crème fraîche
- seeds of 1 vanilla bean (optional)
- Preheat oven to 180 C / Gas 4. In a small bowl combine butter and biscuit crumbs. Mix well and press mixture into the bottom of a lightly greased 23cm pie dish. Bake for 10 minutes in a preheated oven.
- Meanwhile, in a large bowl whisk egg whites until stiff peaks form; set aside. In another bowl combine egg yolks with icing sugar then stir in mascarpone, crème fraîche and vanilla seeds (if using). When the mixture is smooth, gently fold in egg whites.
- When pie base is cooled, pour the mixture in and bake for about 35 to 40 minutes, depending on how thick base is.
- Centre of the cake should still be smooth and a little wobbly, but the outer edges should be firm and set.
- Remove from oven and let cool.
- Refrigerate for at least 1 hour and serve cold.