I’ve seen various recipes and methods for making a home-made Mascarpone and was so excited to use my home-made Mascarpone when I made Aunt Mary’s Angel Food Cake last week…
But I had a problem! I tried a recipe entitled “10 Minute Mascarpone” and didn’t read it through until the day I needed it. Turns out it was 10 minutes PLUS an overnight straining! Bummed, I made a “Mock Mascarpone” filling for the cake; it was very good.
Then, the next day, my Mascarpone was done. It was worth the wait. Super creamy, rich and decadent and better than any Mascarpone, however pricey, (and it can be expensive) I’d ever had, from the store or from an Italian shop. It was molto delizioso.
If you’re not familiar with Mascarpone, think along the lines of Cream Cheese, only better. A little softer, a lot richer and absolutely decadent. As a matter of fact, if you’ve ever had Tiramisu or a sweet Calzone, you’ve probably had Mascarpone.
A “purist” may argue that true Mascarpone (it is recognized as a traditional regional food product) needs to be made with cream and the must of grapes during harvest, or from the tartaric acid removed from the bottoms and sides of wine barrels. Me, I’m not a purist, and while I’d love to taste that Mascarpone, I’m more interested in really great food I can actually pull off.
If you are a purist, check out this very interesting 42 page pdf on Mastering Mascarpone.
I went with a straightforward method using whipping cream and lemon. It was beautiful, rich and creamy. Next time, I may try a method using Cream of Tarter, which I always have on hand for meringues but don’t often use. If you’d like to expand and try other methods than this, check out this very handy pdf from Dennis W. Viau.
Now, what do you do with this bounty of creamy, dreamy goodness!?Just like cream cheese, Mascarpone can go sweet or savory…but however you use it, make sure you make the most of it and use it fast. Soft cheese like this has a very short life and needs to be used pretty quickly.
First of all, make sure all your equipment, especially the strainer is super clean. It’s best to sterilize the strainer and spatula you’ll be using. Have a thermometer ready and very clean. For straining, use 3 layers of cheesecloth, a large coffee filter or sterilized cloth.
- 2 cups (1 pint) heavy or whipping cream (Non ultra-pasteurized is best. Look for cream without a plastic “spout.”)
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- pinch of salt, optional
In a medium saucepan, stirring now and then, slowly bring the cream up to 180 degrees F. and hold it for three minutes, at the 180 mark or as close as you can get. Add in the lemon juice (and salt, if using) and continue to hold at 180 degrees F, stirring now and then for about three minutes. The mixture should coat the back of a spoon.
Remove from heat and let cool for about 30 minutes or until room temperature.
Set up a small strainer over a larger bowl. Line with cloth, several layers of cheesecloth or a coffee filter. Pour mixture into strainer. Place into the fridge, lightly covered and leave overnight (or approximately that amount of time) until cheese has reached desired consistency. If needed, give the cheese a turn so the center drains properly and return to fridge.
Do not discard any liquid in the bowl yet. You will likely find the cheese in the strainer to be a bit thicker and denser around the edges and more liquidy in the center. Gently blend together. If the mascarpone is still too thin, turn it over in the cheesecloth and drain a bit more. If too thick, add a little bit of the liquid back in.
Store in the fridge, tightly covered and use in 1 to 3 days.
Note: larger batches work just as well, but you’ll find that they strain a little more unevenly. You may wish to divide the mixture among smaller strainers or, in the morning, give the mixture a turn and leave it to strain longer to the desired consistency.
Today, of course, I’ll be linking to our very own Throwback Thursday Link Party, hosted by Quinn of Dad What’s for Dinner, Meaghan of 4 Sons are Us, Alli of Tornadough, Carlee from Cooking with Carlee and Moi! That’s right – me!
Click over to our latest Throwback Thursday post for links to their blogs and social media, rules and more info or, as always, to see all the links or add your own, click on the little blue frog, below.
And, as I do almost every Friday, I’ll be linking up to Angie’s Fiesta Friday Number 129! Many of my fave bloggers hang out there every weekend and this week’s co=hosts are co-hosts this week are Jhuls @ The Not So Creative Cook and Colleen @ Faith, Hope, Love & Luck.
Update: I’m happy to report that this Mascarpone was one of the Features from Fiesta Friday!!