Italian Ricotta and Mascarpone Cheesecake is a classic and delicious Italian cheesecake. A crowd pleaser that is guaranteed to satisfy even your Italian mother-in-law! Light, fluffy and simply irresistible!
Since my mom is the official “cheesecake queen” there is usually no reason for me to bake a cheesecake. When we were in Italy this past June my father-in-law’s birthday was approaching. As it goes typically while I’m there, my sister-in-law is dreaming every day of what we should bake together. My mother-in-law is very possessive of her little cucina and I don’t get to step in it very often to create without her astute assistance.
My sister-in-law and I decided together to make a cheesecake for nonno. She was so excited and I was getting anxious just thinking of how to get all the equipment and ingredients together. My suocera (mother-in-law) was of course about to embark on a very big bread baking project. I thought since the dough needed time to proof I could sneak in there and get going. I asked my sister-in-law to get ready and come back over after lunch (she lives in the next building)with the Oro Saiwa cookies for the crust.
As usual, my sister-in-law wasn’t answering her phone when I was calling saying it was time to bake. My mother-in-law pushed on me a bag of chocolate cookies she wanted finished since she was leaving soon for a few months in Calabria. So I wasn’t intending to do a chocolate cookie crust. I was awaiting my sister-in-law bringing over her Oro Saiwa cookies. They’re super plain cookies that are perfect for a cheesecake crust. You could use graham crackers or if you love chocolate cookies, use them! Other than not being familiar with my mother-in-law’s tiny Italian oven, it baked just fine. I probably would have turned it around at least once if I could have had access to the oven. Teresa was in the if in the middle of shaping her Calabrian breads, so it was definitely a busy baking day.
This ricotta cheesecake is fluffy and creamy. It’s not as rich and dense as a traditional cheesecake. I told you my mom is the cheesecake queen and she makes the New York style cheesecake. If a NY cheesecake may seem too decadent for you, you have to try this Italian cheesecake, as it’s a creamy and fluffy dream dessert!
It was a big hit with everyone. Most importantly, my father-in-law (the birthday boy!)was very pleased. Even more importantly, my suocera (mother-in-law)really liked it and asked for the recipe!
WHAT MAKES THIS ITALIAN RICOTTA AND MASCARPONE CHEESECAKE DIFFERENT THAN A TRADITIONAL CHEESECAKE
There is a flavor difference from the addition of the sweet mascarpone cheese. It’s super creamy from the ricotta cheese. It’s lighter than the cheesecake mom always makes that we all love dearly. Ricotta and mascarpone just belong together!
My mother-in-law’s kitchen counter working space is quite crowded. I had to work around everything she had out for her bread baking project. You could use potato or cornstarch for this recipe. I was using and adapting a slight bit a recipe from
The first step is to make the cookie crust. It’s just a matter of mixing melted butter with crushed cookies with a little sugar. We were slightly adapting a recipe from an Italian blog called Ilaria’s Perfect Recipes.
The other adventure this baking day was finding a correct sized spring form pan. My mother-in-law only has extra large pans for all that she bakes. I knew my mom had bought a smaller spring form pan the last time she visited them in Italy. She had made her fabulous cheesecake for them so it was only a matter of hunting it down. Butter or prep your pan with baking spray and press the cookies in and around the sides a little.
The next thing I did was whip the egg whites. I whipped them first and set them aside in another bowl. Then I mad the cheese mixture but mixing the ingredients all together. Next, I carefully folded in the egg whites. If you gently fold it in you get a wonderful and fluffy cheese filling.
When you are decorating, you could be creative and do it your way. We had fresh cream to whip up and also a case of strawberries around to slice up. It seriously was a whole case. I even ended up making a vegan strawberry cake for my non-dairy daughter.
It was clearly impossible to get a decent photo of a slice. I had made the cheesecake in the late afternoon and everyone came over to celebrate for dinner. I will be making this again soon and will get a better slice photo. It was even hard to photograph the actual cheesecake. My mother-in-law was watching me walk by with her blue tablecloth to place on a table on the balcony. I tried my best to pose this beauty. But there is a photo of my adorable father-in-law. He was so happy to have us all there for his birthday.
Some other recipes to enjoy:
- Italian Rainbow Cookies
- Cuccidati-Sicilian Fig Cookies
- Italian Lemon Knot Cookies
- Sicilian S Cookies
Ricotta and Mascarpone Cheesecake
- 2 cups (200 g) graham crackers (Oro Sawai cookies or chocolate cookies) finely crushed
- 1 oz (30 g) sugar
- 1/2 cup (110 g) unsalted butter melted
- 9 oz (250 g) whole milk ricotta room temp
- 9 oz (250 g) mascarpone cheese room temp
- ½ cup (100 g) sugar
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 1 tbsp (10 g) cornstarch or potato starch
- 3 eggs separated, room temp
- a pinch of salt
- whipped cream
- strawberry sauce optional
- Preheat the oven to 350F.
- Prep a 9-inch springform pan with baking spray or with butter; set aside.
- In bowl of a food processor, pulse together the graham crackers (or cookies), sugar and melted butter until combined. Dump the crumb mixture into the bottom of your prepped pan pressing into the bottom and going up about 1-inch up the sides.
- Lower the oven temp to 300F.
- In the bowl of a mixer add the egg whites with a pinch of salt. Beat until firm and stiff peaks form. Set the egg whites aside in a clean bowl.
- Wipe out the mixer and add the ricotta, mascarpone, sugar, and corn starch. Beat on medium-low speed until everything is combined. Be sure to stop the machine and scrape sides of a bowl with a spatula to combine all the ingredients. Mix until smooth taking care to not over beat. Add the egg yolks one at a time and mix to combine. Add in the vanilla mixture. Stop machine and clean sides of bowl with spatula, combining all ingredients.
- Fold the whipped egg whites into the cheese mixture. Take care to fold slowly and carefully to not deflate the egg whites too much.
- Spoon the cheesecake batter into the springform pan and smooth it out with the spatula.
- Place the cheesecake on the middle rack of the oven and bake for about 90 minutes, or until the top is golden and no longer wobbly when shaken. Turn oven off and leave cheesecake in the oven with the door slightly open for 20 minutes. Remove cheesecake and cool to room temperature. Cover with plastic wrap before placing to chill in the fridge.
- Decorate with freshly whipped cream and strawberries. If you have a strawberry sauce, you could drizzle some on top.
- Best refrigerated overnight or at least 3 hours.
- Make sure that the ingredients are at room temperature before you start mixing the filling.
- Drain the ricotta over a cheesecloth if it seems to be too watery. In the States, I use the Galbani ricotta and it does not have to be strained.