Parmigiano Reggiano

Parmigiano Reggiano Cheesecake? Say No More.

This salty-savory staple is our new favorite way to cheesecake.

May  5, 2021

We’ve teamed up with the Parmigiano Reggiano Consortium to share a brilliant (and sweet!) new way to use one of our all-time favorite staples: Parmigiano Reggiano. This cheese is made with only three ingredients, but the real magic comes after it's been aged for more than a year (in Italy, according to old-school methods). That aging gives it the singular taste, crumbly texture, and unique aroma we can't resist.

It’s true: A shower of freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese can make any pasta dish taste even better (and, if you ask me, is an absolute must). But there are so many ways to use this umami-rich ingredient that go way beyond a garnish—or even savory dishes, for that matter.

Enter: Parmigiano Reggiano cheesecake.

As it turns out, cheesecake becomes even cheesier (in a good way) when you bring Parmigiano Reggiano into the fold. The cheese, which is carefully crafted and aged for a minimum of 12 months, adds an extra layer of complexity and depth; its nutty, salty, and oh-so-slightly tangy notes help balance out the sugar in traditional cheesecake. Also, unlike other soft or overly gooey cheeses, Parmigiano Reggiano cheese has the ideal texture and consistency for creating a structurally sound, velvety rich cheesecake without the need for something like gelatin (the secret’s in its solubility and lactose-free properties).

Join The Conversation

Top Comment:
“cup finely ground Parmigiano Reggiano" makes me nervous. And by "finely ground", do you mean grinding in a food processor? It looks and sounds wonderful. It would be truly criminal to ruin that much Parm Reg.”
— HalfPint

The end result? A dessert that’s a total showstopper, but not overly sweet. And once you’ve got the recipe down, you can riff on the toppings any way you like, making it the perfect weekend baking project (or a very thoughtful edible gift for Mother’s Day, which is right around the corner).

Photo by Julia Gartland. Prop Stylist: Megan Hedgpeth. Food Stylist: Samantha Seneviratne.

Here are a handful of season-ready ideas for topping your Parmigiano Reggiano cheesecake, from honey drizzles to ginger syrup-soaked figs—though really, anything that would pair well with Parmigiano Reggiano on a cheese board would probably be great here.

1. Shaved Parmigiano Reggiano + Toasted Sliced Almonds + Honey Drizzle

Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, almonds, and honey are charcuterie board must-haves, so it makes sense that they make for a dreamy combo on top of this cheesecake. Parmigiano Reggiano on Parmigiano Reggiano—what’s not to love?

To prep your toppings, carefully shave thin, long strips of Parmigiano Reggiano about one to two inches long using a Y-peeler. Meanwhile, toast the sliced almonds on a flat sheet pan for 5 to 8 minutes at 350°F, or until slightly golden and fragrant. Sprinkle the top of your cheesecake with the cooled, toasted nuts and Parmigiano Reggiano slices. Then, drizzle a generous serving of honey over top for bonus presentation points.

Photo by Julia Gartland. Prop Stylist: Megan Hedgpeth. Food Stylist: Samantha Seneviratne.

2. Gingery Dried Figs + Toasted Pistachios + Honey Drizzle + Shaved Parmigiano Reggiano

Fig season is right around the corner, and this plump, sweet fruit is a tried-and-true match for Parmigiano Reggiano cheese’s nutty richness. For extra texture and bite, add toasted pistachios, too.

If you can’t source fresh figs at the market, don’t fret—dried figs work great, too. If you find that your figs are a little too dry for your liking, rehydrate them by simmering the dried fruit in a simple syrup mixture (or water) for 10 to 15 minutes. To give your figs a bit of subtle spice, infuse the simple syrup with a few chunks of ginger. To finish things off, you can’t go wrong with honey and shaved Parm here, either.

3. Fresh Strawberries + Balsamic Glaze + Mint

As far as cheesecake toppings go, strawberries have got to be one of the most popular. Take things up a notch by pairing them with a homemade balsamic glaze that’ll bring brightness and tang.

To make the glaze, combine 1 cup of good-quality balsamic vinegar with 1/4 cup light brown sugar in a saucepan. Once the mixture begins to boil, reduce the heat to low and simmer for about 10 to 15 minutes, or until the liquid has reduced by half and is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Once the glaze has thoroughly cooled, drizzle your strawberry-covered cheesecake with the balsamic reduction, and sprinkle with freshly chopped mint.

4. Salted Caramel + Flaky Sea Salt

For a savory-meets-sweet cheesecake topping, combine salted caramel with an extra pinch of flaky sea salt. To make the caramel sauce, add 1/2 cup of heavy cream to a medium saucepan and bring to a gentle boil, stirring occasionally. Next, add 1 1/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 tablespoon of vanilla extract. Heat until the brown sugar is fully dissolved, frequently stirring for about 4 to 5 minutes. Remove the mixture from the heat, add 2 tablespoons of cold, cubed butter into the pan, and stir until fully incorporated and smooth. Let the caramel sauce cool for 10 minutes, then drizzle and garnish with a pinch of flaky sea salt.

5. Ginger Syrup-Candied Kumquats + Toasted Walnuts

These gingery candied kumquats help balance out the cheesecake’s richness with a dash of citrus to brighten up each bite. To make ‘em, combine 1 cup of water with 2 cups of granulated sugar in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, and reduce the heat to a simmer until the sugar is completely dissolved, about 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, rinse and cut the kumquats in half and remove the seeds. Add the kumquats to the syrup mixture, along with a 1-inch piece of peeled ginger. Simmer for about 10 minutes. Remove the kumquats, and reduce the syrup over low heat for 5 minutes. To serve, arrange the cooled kumquats and a handful of crushed, toasted walnuts on the cheesecake and drizzle the ginger syrup over top.

6. Blueberry Compote + Lemon Zest

If you’re in a time crunch or can’t seem to find perfectly ripe fruit at the market, this too-good-to-be-true blueberry compote is guaranteed to save the day. In a medium saucepan, combine 2 cups of frozen blueberries, 3 tablespoons water, 1/4 cup granulated sugar, and 2 teaspoons of lemon juice. Cook over medium heat for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

About halfway through, use a spoon to gently crush about half the blueberries to release their juices into the sauce. To serve, spoon the slightly warm compote over the cheesecake and garnish with a pinch of fresh lemon zest for an extra pop of color.

What toppings would you put on this Parmigiano Reggiano Cheesecake? Tell us in the comments!

In partnership with the Parmigiano Reggiano Consortium, we’re sharing some of the ways this staple can be incorporated into cooking—beyond just being showered over a plate of pasta. Whether it’s adding a uniquely complex character to classic desserts or packing an umami punch in a broth, there’s much more to this Italian cheese than you might think. Any way you slice it—or grate it, or infuse it—Parmigiano Reggiano cheese is one ingredient your fridge should never be without.

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • Sandra Nicole Roldan
    Sandra Nicole Roldan
  • JenGirlCooks
  • Molli Dawson
    Molli Dawson
  • HalfPint
Maki Yazawa

Written by: Maki Yazawa

Food Writer & Recipe Developer


Sandra N. May 13, 2021
it would be great if food52 can put weight measurements for all baking recipes.
JenGirlCooks May 7, 2021
Yup ingredients in weights would be nice I agree. Also, wondering if Pecorino Romano could be a substitute? Perhaps more creamy than salty?
Molli D. May 5, 2021 immediate thought too....need a weight measurement for the cheese!
Can’t wait to try with fresh figs.
HalfPint May 5, 2021
Is it possible to get weight measurements for the recipe? "3/4 cup finely ground Parmigiano Reggiano" makes me nervous. And by "finely ground", do you mean grinding in a food processor? It looks and sounds wonderful. It would be truly criminal to ruin that much Parm Reg.