The Ultimate Cream Cheese Lemonade Pie Recipe (No Bake and Easy) in 20 minutes
Make this cream cheese lemonade pie recipe when life gives you lemons.
It is super flavored, tastes divine and has a smooth and rich texture. The lemon aroma brings some mixed fillings for me: on one hand, it feels like summer breeze and hot weather; on the other hand, I believe these citrus fruits are a great ally for our immune system in winter.
Either way, lemons are always welcome in my diet.
A cream cheese lemonade pie is basically a lemon cheesecake. And we all love cheesecakes, right? I’m especially fond of this no bake cream cheese pie because it gives you a fresh sensation and it is such a easy to prepare recipe.
Short history of cheesecake
While you may think that cheesecake is an American invention, historians might argue with you on this matter. To find out more about this rich dessert, we should go back in time for about 4000 years.
It is believed that cheesecake originated in Ancient Greece. Due to its ingredients (flour, cheese and honey), it was considered a great source of energy. Therefore, the athletes who participated in the first edition of the Olympic Games, in 776 BC, enjoyed it for a boost of strength. Being delicious and well looking, cheesecake was also used as a wedding cake in Greece.
Later on, the Romans conquered Greece. As expected, they took over the recipe and made some modifications. They prepared it with crushed cheese and eggs. People baked the pie under a hot brick and enjoyed it warm. The first recording of a Roman cheesecake recipe was made by Marcus Cato, a politician, in the first century BC.
As we all know, Romans expanded their empire. It is obviously that cheesecake was brought to Europe under these conditions. Each area and population added a certain cultural touch to the recipe, using ingredients specific to each region.
We can find many cheesecake variations as the time passed. Only in the 18th century, the dessert began to look like the one we know today. The cheesecake became more and more like a dessert. Europeans who came to America brought their recipes and they started spreading them along the continent.
Later on, Americans added cream cheese to this cake and it has become a primary ingredient in the United States.
The most popular cheesecake recipe is the New York style cheesecake, of course. We are talking about the classic cake which doesn’t contain any addition like caramel, chocolate or fruits. The texture is extra-smooth because of the supplementary egg yolks added to the cream cheese mixture.
Cheesecake became a staple dessert around the 1900s and New Yorkers loved it. People were able to find it in basically every restaurant, in different variations. Arnold Reuben, a chef from New York received the credits for inventing the original cheesecake. Although born in Germany, Arnold Reuben came to America when he was still young. At some point he attended a party where he enjoyed a cheese pie. The chef liked the dish and began to experiment with it. The final result was the New York style cheesecake.
How to make cream cheese lemonade pie?
There are many lemonade pie recipes out there. Essentially, this is a cheesecake recipe which also asks for lemons. I have a basic no bake cheesecake recipe which I use and add different flavors. This lemonade pie is one of my favorite for its rich texture and fresh taste. The citrusy flavor is simply divine.
Make sure you use organic lemons since you will also need the zest. I would never recommend you eat the zest of regular lemons because they contain a lot of toxic substances.
The crust for the no bake cream cheese pie contains the same ingredients as the baked one. We need graham crackers, butter and sugar or other sweetener. While for the classic cheesecake the crust needs to be baked for ten minutes, the no bake version is only kept in the refrigerator so the butter will harden and keep the crushed crackers together. This is why you need to press and pack the crust very well against the walls of the baking pan so that everything will stick together. The firmer the crust, the easier it will be for you to cut the pie into slices.
When preparing a cheesecake, the filling contains eggs and a bit of flour besides from cream cheese and whipping cream. Eggs help the filling expand and have that delicious creamy and rich texture.
We want to get pretty much the same texture even when we are making a no bake cake. So we will use full fat cream cheese, it is better than the low fat version. When the fat amount in dairies is higher, they have a heavy and luscious consistency which makes them more appropriate for cakes.
Next to cream cheese, I chose mascarpone. Mascarpone is an exceptionally smooth, easy spreadable cream cheese. It can successfully replace whipped cream in many products and is often used to thicken various dishes. This is why it is perfect for this ultimate cream cheese lemonade pie.
There are a lot of toppings you can add and variations to make to this no bake cake. Since it has this fresh taste from lemon and lemon zest, raspberries would be a great addition so you will get a raspberry cream cheese lemonade pie. Those of you who love a colorful dessert may drop in a little bit of red food coloring and your pie will turn pink. A pinkish shade can also be obtained with strawberry puree.
You should know that there is also a shortcut available for this recipe: you can create it without having to mix all those ingredients, just using lemon pudding, cream cheese, lemonade concentrate and evaporated milk. I personally prefer the long way because I know exactly what ingredients I use for my cake. But there are moments when lack of time forces us to go for the easy version and turn to some already made mixes which will help us cut the amount of time and work.
No matter how you decide to cook this cream cheese lemonade pie, I am positive that you and your family or friends will enjoy it. A party could be a great place to show your cooking and decorating skills and this cake can look fabulous with just a bit of care.
How to make cream cheese lemonade pie?
There are several ways to do that. I chose to use mascarpone cheese for my no bake cream cheese pie. This cheese has a very compact texture and is used for many desserts. Apart from mascarpone, I also added a bit of butter so it will harden in the fridge.
Another way to make the filling of your homemade cream cheese lemonade pie harden is to use heavy cream and to beat it until stiff peaks are formed. This will ensure you get a thick and rich pie which will enchant your taste buds.
- springform with detachable walls
- silicone spatula
For the crust
- 6 oz. graham crackers
- 1/3 cup butter, softened at room temperature
- 2 tbsp honey
For the filling
- 7 oz. mascarpone cheese
- 10 oz. cream cheese
- ½ cup butter, softened at room temperature
- 4 tbsp honey
- Juice and zest from one organic lemon
- Frozen berries to decorate (optional)
To prepare the crust
- I prefer to use baking pans with detachable walls for cheesecakes because it’s easier to take them out and keep the initial form. So line the bottom of a springform with detachable walls with parchment paper. Grease the walls of the pan with a bit of butter.
- Place the graham crackers, softened butter and honey into a food processor. Pulse until the crackers are crushed and everything is sticky and it starts to come together.
- Transfer the mixture to the pan and start pressing it against the bottom and walls. Press very well so it will stick together when you cut the cake. Use the back of a spoon to pack it up in a compact crust.
- Take the pan to the freezer for at least 15 minutes.
To prepare the filling
- Place mascarpone cheese in a food processor. Beat at medium speed until smooth.
- Add the cream cheese and softened butter. Whisk until well combined.
- Add two tablespoons of honey and half of the lemon juice. Whisk well over low speed.
- Bring in the remaining honey and lemon juice. Mix again over low speed. Add the lemon zest and whisk until well incorporated.
- Take the crust out of the freezer and transfer the filling inside the pan. Make sure you spread it evenly so that it fills up and covers every inch of the crust.
- Cover the pan tightly with cling film and take it to the fridge for at least four hours before serving. The longer you keep this ultimate cream cheese lemonade pie in the refrigerator, the better it will set.
- When you take it out, use a knife to loosen the homemade cream cheese lemonade pie from the walls of the springform and remove the rim after that. Decorate with a bunch of frozen berries if you wish to.
- Cut it into slices with a sharp knife. To keep everything neat, wash the knife or wipe it clean after each slice.
- If you don’t know how much paper to cut to cover the bottom of the pan, take a rectangular piece and slowly press it against the top edge of the pan. You will get a circle which pretty much has the dimensions of your pan. Cut around it and place it on the bottom. It if doesn’t stick there, you may first water or grease the bottom a bit.
- Make sure the mascarpone and cream cheese are taken directly from the fridge so they can keep their solid texture.
- In case you have some cake left, cover with plastic foil and keep in the fridge for maximum five days.
- Some good news is that this lemonade pie recipe can be prepared ahead of time. If you are planning a party for the weekend, rest assured that you can make everything in advance. After assembling the pie, cover tight with plastic foil and refrigerate for up to two days. In case you only want to prepare the crust, create the crunchy mixture in the food processor, press it back the bottom and walls of the springform and cover with foil. Take it to the freezer for 60 minutes and then place in the refrigerator for up to two days. Continue with the filling when you are ready to do that.
- Another way of preparing this ultimate cream cheese lemonade pie in advance is to freeze it. You just follow the steps of the recipe and let the cake in the fridge to set completely for 8-10 hours. Wrap the whole pan in one sheet of plastic foil and one sheet of aluminum foil. The no bake cream cheese pie will keep nicely in the freezer for about three months. When you want to serve it, just defrost in the refrigerator and don’t worry: it keeps the smooth and rich texture even after all this time.
- You may serve the homemade cream cheese lemonade pie with whatever topping you prefer: berries, whipped cream, caramel, chocolate, any of these works just fine.
- And remember to enjoy every bite of every slice of this amazing cream cheese lemonade pie!