Mascarpone is the perfect cheese for a beginner to create. However, because of its versatility many experienced cheese makers will love this recipe also. Mascarpone is probably best known for its use in the creamy layers of a delicious tiramisu. Mascarpone cheese originated from Northern Italy in 1500-1600s. It has a creamy, spreadable texture that is very versatile in many dishes.
Mascarpone is essentially known as ‘Italian Cream Cheese’. Although the two look very similar to each other, Mascarpone has a much higher fat content than traditional Cream cheese and is much richer and creamier in taste as well. Heavy whipping cream would be a closer substitute to Mascarpone than Cream cheese would be.
In the U.S especially, Mascarpone can be kind of difficult to find at the grocery store. This is why learning to make Mascarpone from scratch will not only taste so much better than the store-bought version but will also save you the stress of simply just trying to find it at the local supermarket.
Unlike most cheeses, Mascarpone isn’t actually produced by curds. There are only two ingredients utilized within the creation of Mascarpone. Mascarpone cheese only requires cream and acid. There are a few different types of acid that can be used to make it include tartaric acid, lemon juice, vinegar, or citric acid.
Mascarpone cheese does have a higher fat content than most cheeses but still has about half the calories of butter, which is why it’s a good substitute if you’re trying to make lighter dishes but still get that rich, buttery flavor throughout. Along with Tiramisu, Mascarpone can also be used with or instead of butter or Parmesan cheese to thicken dishes like risotto. It can also be used in cheesecake recipes as well as a replacement for Cream cheese.
Since Mascarpone is the perfect beginner cheese, starting out with a cheese like this or Cream cheese first, will get you exposed to the cheesemaking process, gain a basic understanding, and get you comfortable with starting to experiment with other types of cheese recipes later on. With just two ingredients, cream, and acid, you can easily whip up delicious, creamy Mascarpone cheese in no time at all!
Skill Level: Beginner
- 4 cups of cream (can use 2 cups cream and 2 cups full cream)
- ¼ tsp of tartaric acid (lemon juice is also an acceptable substitute for the recipe)
Heat the Cream
- Heat the cream up to 185F. When using the stove make sure to continue to stir throughout the heating process so as to not burn the cream.
- To ensure that the cream doesn’t burn, you can do this by placing the cream in a pot or sink of very warm water. If you choose to do this step on the stove instead of in the kitchen sink, be sure to slowly heat the cream and stir to avoid burning.
Add the Tartaric Acid
- When the cream reaches 185F, you can start to add your tartaric acid or lemon juice and stir continuously for at least 5-8 minutes. Do not add all of the acid in one go, take your time and simply add a little at a time.
- You will notice that the cream will start to immediately thicken and have a similar consistency to custard or pudding.
- If the mixture is on the thinner side, you can add a drop or two of tartaric acid. However, too much acid can make the texture grainy so it’s best to start slow and use caution when adding acid to the mixture.
Allow it to Rest
- Once the desired texture has been reached, allow your cream and acid mixture to rest and cool at room temperature.
Draining the Cheese
- Using a ladle, carefully transfer the mixture into a colander that has been lined with a cheesecloth.
- Allow the cheese to drain overnight or for at least 8 hours.
Storing the Cheese
- After draining, place the cheese in an airtight container and either use it immediately or store it in the fridge.
- Mascarpone can be stored for up to 2 weeks in the refrigerator.
For a more in-depth look at How to Make the Creamiest Mascarpone Cheese watch this video
Video Credit to Bigger Bolder Baking