Lemon Mascarpone Cheesecake

Just in time for the mother of all holidays comes a low-sodium dessert worthy of a special occasion. This unique marriage of ingredients (matzoh and mascarpone?) gives birth to a cheesecake with the style of New York, but the consistency of a cloud. So light & fluffy it practically floats on air! It’s luscious, lemony and decadent, yet not so rich you can’t finish each & every delectable bite. And after one bite you’ll agree — it’s like cheesecake and lemon custard had a baby!

The ingenious crust comes courtesy of Sodium Girl, who cleverly concocted the graham cracker-esque bottom for a recent Passover pie. The filling, a recipe I found on Chef De Cuisine.com, calls for Mascarpone in lieu of cream cheese. I recommend BelGioioso Mascarpone, sold at many supermarkets and specialty stores, even in 3-packs at BJs Wholesale Club. Its smooth, buttery taste and texture is perfect here, and at only 5 mg sodium per tablespoon, it’s the lowest in sodium I’ve yet to find.

Yields 12 servings.

SODIUM CONTENT: 55 mg per serving


5 unsalted matzoh (large cracker sheets) or 1 1/4 c. unsalted matzoh meal
1/2 c. brown sugar, packed
4 T. cold unsalted butter, cubed
5 T. cold water
2 t. orange marmalade

1 1/2 c. sugar
2 T. cornstarch
1 c. freshly squeezed lemon juice (juice of 5 lemons)
1 T. unflavored gelatin
4 eggs, beaten
3 T. grated lemon zest (zest of 3 lemons)
16 oz. (1 lb.) mascarpone cheese
2 c. heavy whipping cream


Get out a 10-inch springform pan and set aside.

To make the crust, break the matzoh into pieces, place in a food processor and pulse into crumbs (if using matzoh meal, simply place into food processor). Add the brown sugar and whiz to combine. Add the cubed butter and pulse until the butter is finely distributed. Add the water, one tablespoon at a time, until the dough begins to form. Add the marmalade and pulse until dough comes together.

Remove dough, shape into a rough ball and wrap in clear plastic. Refrigerate 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Once the dough has chilled, press evenly into the bottom of the springform pan. Place pan on middle rack in oven and bake 20 minutes. Remove from oven and place on wire rack; crust will harden as it cools. Cool at least 20 minutes before filling.

To make the filling, first dissolve the unflavored gelatin in 1/4 cup of the lemon juice and set aside.

Measure the sugar and cornstarch into a heavy-duty saucepan. Add the remaining 3/4 cup lemon juice and beaten eggs to the pan and whisk well. Place the pan over medium heat, and cook, stirring, until mixture thickens to a medium-thick consistency, roughly 5 minutes.

Remove pan from heat and stir in the gelatin and lemon zest. Transfer contents to a large bowl, and let cool at room temperature.

Once cool, whisk in mascarpone until smooth. In another bowl (or stand mixer) beat the whipping cream until stiff. Fold mascarpone mixture into the whipped cream.
Pour into the prepared springform pan and smooth top with spatula to even. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 4 hours.

Once cake has chilled completely, carefully run a small sharp knife along the edge of the inside cake pan rim to loosen cake. Release the sides of the pan and gently remove. Serve immediately, garnished with whipped cream, fresh berries and additional lemon zest, if desired.

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14 Responses to Lemon Mascarpone Cheesecake

  1. Tammy says:

    Cannot wait to try this crust! We cannot get graham crackers here, except through a specialty store at$8 a box! Plus I love cheesecake. Hubby doesn’t, so may have to have a girls night to eat!

  2. Kate Howard says:

    Tammy and Christy, If I were alone, I wouldn’t go looking for someone else to share this with. I would easily devour the whole thing and be sorry for my gluttony. Then I’d make the cake again, to improve my methodology, to give to a neighbor, making their Mother’s Day special. This cake is perfect if one can gather all the ingredients. Thank you for suggesting stores carrying needed products. Kate

  3. Christy says:

    Tammy – that is CRAZY! I am so glad you have something to try instead!! This crust is an excellent substitute. Super easy to make, good flavor – not quite the same consistency of graham cracker, but it comes close enough – and at only ~5 mg sodium per serving!

    Kate, you will really enjoy this. It’s creamy and rich and SUPER lemony — but not heavy like a traditional cheesecake at all. Which could be good & bad — you may be tempted to eat more b/c it doesn’t leave you w/ that leaden semi-sick feeling! LOL If you try it, let me know how you like it. As for the mascarpone, I’ve bought it at Hannaford, in the “specialty cheese” section located near the produce & deli. Last time was down in Saco, but I’d bet they stock it across stores. If you don’t see it – ask. Happy Mother’s Day!

  4. Your blog is putting me into a lemon craving frenzy! I don’t even think I realized how much I love it until we ordered some lemon-filled donuts for dessert the other night, and Kamran pointed out to me how I always get lemon things whenever I can.

    I could tell you that I’m going to make this, but now that you know I never use my oven, I might as well admit that I just want to make the filling and eat it raw.

  5. Christy says:

    Hah! Fine by me. I was doing the exact same thing, licking the bowl to appease myself while the cake was chilling in the fridge. YUMMERS!

  6. How in the world did I miss this post yesterday? Sorry about that, Dishy!
    I’m just now getting back into cream cheese (there was an incident when I was a child). I somehow managed to mistake cream cheese for whipped cream, and put a whole ‘thing’ of it in some hot chocolate. Not cool, Jr. S.I.G, not cool.

  7. Christy says:

    Inky, trust me, you didn’t miss it. i didn’t post it until nearly 11 pm last night! Got so caught up in watching Survivor, and you know, LIFE.. plus I had to go to the store for an ingredient, so the cake didn’t actually get into the fridge until far later than I’d expected, then had to chill 4 hours, yadda yadda yadda…

    Hello? Anyone there..?

  8. that looks SO good! you are singing my song with cheesecake, woman. i’m a freak for the stuff but have never made it because of the stupid pan you need to have. listen, just whip one up for me and i’ll come get it. xo

  9. Christy says:

    Hah! This is one cake that won’t ship well.. Gonna have to buy you a springform pan one of these days. Or, better yet – Nat, try this super simple 3 step cheesecake recipe from Kraft. You can bake it in a premade graham cracker crust – all you need is a mixer. Since you don’t have to worry about sodium, you can use Philly cream cheese. I’ve made this many, many times for my family – everyone LOVES it. It’ll take you 5 mins.

  10. Kate Howard says:

    We shared the first of many pieces of cheesecake to come, 10″ being a good-sized spring form cake. It was so light and flavorful and high that we couldn’t get enough; each of us kept taking another mouthful of deliciousness. I used matzoh crackers for making the crust, using 6 instead of 5 tsp cold water. Graham cracker for the crust would have been too sweet for me. I squeezed 5 big lemons but only got 3/4 cup of juice. Next time I’ll use 6, increasing the lemon flavor. This isn’t heavy like New York cheesecake so that I thought a regular-sized slice was all right; WRONG… Next slices will be thin slices because though light this cheesecake can sit heavy or be rich. We sampled the cake before dinner so that I could tell you how it is (actually, I ate it instead of late lunch) and hopefully, will work on it throughout the rest of today, maybe leaving some for dessert tomorrow. Thanks for sharing your treat with the rest of us in time for Mothers Day meals. Kate

  11. Christy says:

    Kate, you are SO welcome — wonderful to hear you made and enjoyed it so much! Happy Mother’s Day to you!! (one day late, but sincerely meant!)

  12. Kathy Fleetwood says:

    How do I love this recipe?….Let me count the ways.
    Beautiful presentation for any special occasion. Amazing rich taste ( no way anyone will deny this)
    Have shared with family and friends to rave reviews!!
    Thank you…again…so much for making my Minere’s driven low sodium palate so happy!!!!

  13. Theresa says:

    I know I’m late to the party on this, I just came across your site. Can I make this a day ahead. I’d like to make it for a Mother’s Day brunch. It look’s absolutely delicious!

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