This light and fluffy Lemon Ricotta Cheesecake is whipped together with luscious, creamy ricotta and mascarpone cheeses, and then topped with strawberries and a rhubarb simple syrup.
Have you ever planned out a meal, made a (mental) list, gone shopping, only to realize as you begin to cook that you totally forgot to get at least one or two pretty important ingredients? Desperation, however, leads to innovation. That, my friends, is how this Lemon Ricotta Cheesecake was born! I fully intended to make tiramisu, and had my fingers on some lady fingers and mascarpone, but totally forgot the wine and rum!!! (No rum?! No wine?! There will be no tiramisu!)
Instead, after scavenging my fridge and pantry– we had cheesecake! This Lemon Ricotta Cheesecake is made from mascarpone, ricotta, yogurt, and lemon zest over a crust of lady fingers. Top it all off with fresh strawberries and rhubarb syrup, and you’ve got a spring-tastic dessert!
Making Lemon Ricotta Cheesecake
To make this Lemon Ricotta Cheesecake, you’ll start with the dairy. Add the ricotta, mascarpone, and yogurt to a large bowl, along with the sugar and vanilla. Blend everything together with an electric hand mixer until all your ingredients are well combined, then add the lemon juice and lemon zest and mix a little more.
Next, add the eggs– one at a time– and mix on low until they’re incorporated. Next, layer your lady fingers along the bottom of eight ramekins OR one deep-dish pie pan. It’s okay if you need to break some of the cookies to make them fit. Pour the cheese mixture over the cookies, and skim off any bubbles from the surface.
You’re going to bake the cheesecake in a hot water bath to make sure that the top of the cake doesn’t crack, so set the ramekins or pie pan inside a larger dish with sides (like a casserole dish or a roasting pan). Then, pour hot water into the outer pan, taking care to not splash any onto the cheesecake. Carefully move the whole setup inside your oven, and bake! Your cheesecake is done when the outer edges have set, but the inner part of the cake still wiggles when gently shaken.
Carefully remove the dish from the oven, and take the cheesecakes out of the hot water and leave them to cool for about an hour. Set the cakes in the fridge for at least eight hours before serving. Just before serving, top the cheesecake with fresh strawberries. The rhubarb simple syrup should be drizzled on right before the cheesecake is eaten, or served on the side.
What’s your favorite springtime dessert? Let me know in the comments!
Note: If you bake these in ramekins or a deep-dish pie pan, do not attempt to remove the cheesecake from the pan before serving (as you would with a springform pan).
Lemon Ricotta Cheesecake with Strawberry Rhubarb Topping
- 8 oz ricotta (whole milk), drained
- 8 oz mascarpone, room temperature
- 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt (whole milk)
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 lemon, juiced and zested
- 2 eggs
- 10-20 Italian ladyfinger cookies, amount depending on size of cookies* (See Recipe Notes)
- 1 stalk rhubarb, diced
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup strawberries, sliced
Preheat oven to 350ºF.
Use an electric hand mixer to blend together the ricotta, mascarpone, Greek yogurt, sugar, and vanilla in a large mixing bowl. Mix until all the ingredients are well combined.
Add the lemon juice and zest to the cheese mixture, and mix until combined.
Add the eggs to the cheese mixture, and whip on low until they're incorporated.
Layer ladyfinger cookies on the bottom of 8 ramekins OR 1 deep dish pie pan. Break cookies as needed to cover the base of the dish(es).
Pour cheesecake mixture over cookies, and skim off any bubbles from the top. Set ramekins (or pie pan) into a large dish with sides (such as a lasagna pan or a roasting pan), and pour hot water around the ramekins. Take care to avoid getting water inside the cheesecakes.
For ramekin cheesecakes: Bake cakes about 25 minutes. Cakes should be set along the edges, but still slightly wiggle in the center when moved.
For pie pan cheesecake: Bake cakes about 35 minutes. Cakes should be set along the edges, but still slightly wiggle in the center when moved.
Carefully remove cakes from the water bath, and allow them to cool for about an hour. Refrigerate cakes for at least 8 hours before serving, and eat within 2 days.
Rhubarb Simple Syrup:
Add rhubarb and sugar to a small pot, and fill pot with just enough water to cover the rhubarb. Bring to a boil, then lower heat to medium. Cover, and simmer until the rhubarb stalks begin to fall apart.
Strain sugar-water off of the rhubarb into a container, reserving rhubarb for another recipe if desired. Allow rhubarb syrup to cool to room temperature. (If desired, put syrup in the fridge to speed cooling process.)
Top cheesecake with strawberries, and drizzle rhubarb syrup on top while serving.
*A Note on Springform Pans: The recipe is intended to be made inside ramekins or a pie dish. If you prefer to use a more traditional springform pan, wrap the outside of your pan with foil. Grind up the cookies in a food processor with about 1/4 cup melted butter, and then press the blended cookies onto the bottom of your springform pan.
*A Note on Crustless Cheesecake: The ladyfinger crust can be skipped altogether if you prefer a crustless cake.
*Calorie Information was calculated per serving using My Fitness Pal, and will vary depending on the amount of rhubarb syrup used on each serving of cheesecake.
Recipe inspired by Giada’s Honey Ricotta Cheesecake.