Do you like Tiramisu? How about Cannelloni? Whether you have a sweet or a savoury tooth, chances are you like mascarpone cheese. Mascarpone is the unsung hero behind some great dishes and the good news is it is easy to make at home.
Mascarpone cheese is closer to butter than cheese. It is cream that has been acidified with lemon juice or citric acid to remove the whey. That straining process turns it from liquid cream to an unctuous thick goop. Mascarpone only keeps for a couple of days in the fridge as it is unsalted, but it is also quick to make so creating small batches for specific recipes is quite doable, just adjust your quantities keeping to the ratios below:
- 2 cups (450mls) of heavy fresh cream, (at least 36 grams of fat per 100 mls)
- Juice of 1 lemon
- Gently heat the cream in a double boiler or thick bottomed pan until it reaches 85°C / 185°F.
- Remove from the heat and slowly stir in half of the lemon juice with a spoon.
- The cream should start to thicken slightly and coat the back of the spoon
- Stir in the remaining lemon juice and set aside to cool for 30 minutes
- Line a sieve with a double layer of 2 layer cheesecloth (a total of 4 layers of fabric) and place it over a bowl
- Scoop the mascarpone into the lined sieve and let it drain overnight in the fridge
- Transfer the solids to a sealed container and use within 2 - 3 days. Sweeten with confectioners sugar for use in desserts.
Apart from Tiramisu and Cannelloni what do you use mascarpone for? Slightly sweetened and served with fresh fruit is a favourite around here.
Torta di mascarpone is another use for creamy mascarpone where it is layered into a round cake tin with basil or smoked salmon or truffles or a variety of other ingredients. Well chilled, it is turned out and served in thin slices for a spectacular starter.
For a wine-match try fruity, sweet wines with mascarpone. Enjoy!
If you would like to give cultured cheese-making a go, have a look here for inspiration.