For such as simple cheese, mascarpone is an incredible rich and creamy delight. It is only made of two ingredients: fresh whole cream and vinegar or citric acid. The acid thickens the cream. Mascarpone is Italian cream cheese.
Mascarpone is soft, spreadable, and smooth. The flavor is creamy sweet, which is from the high fat content of the cream. Mixed with the soft tartness from the citric acid, it has a complex flavor.
The first secret of mascarpone is that it is actually very easy to make at home. The traditional recipe calls for heavy cream and lemon juice. The preparation takes about 10 minutes. Then it needs to set and chill for several hours afterwards. In case you need it right away, read this article about the best mascarpone cheese on the market.
Simple Homemade Mascarpone
Begin with the two ingredients.
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
Slowly, over low heat, bring the heavy cream to a soft simmer. Be careful not to boil it. If you have a candy thermometer, try to keep the liquid around 180 degrees. Allow the cream to simmer very gently for approximately 3 minutes. Stir in the lemon juice, and continue the low simmer for another 3 to 4 minutes.
Take the pot off the heat. Let the creamy mixture cool down to room temperature. It will take 30 to 45 minutes to cool.
While you are waiting for it to cool, place three layers of cheesecloth over a bowl. This will strain out the excess liquid. If you do not have cheesecloth, don’t worry. In a pinch, you can substitute coffee filters, paper towels, or a clean linen cloth. The coffee filters are the second-best choice, but the others will work.
Place the bowl in the refrigerator. Let it sit overnight or at least half a day. The longer it strains, the thicker it becomes. The cheese mixture will release 1 or 2 tablespoons of liquid whey. The mascarpone left on top will be thick, smooth, and rich, and will keep for one week in a covered container. Throw out the whey liquid.
Once you have a batch of mascarpone whipped up, it is easy to add it to your favorite meals. It will give them a new texture and thickness.
Whipped Cream Substitute
This tangy substitute works well on berries or fruit. Mix in a little honey if you want it a little sweeter.
Add a dollop to butternut squash or tomato soup. The rich cream can also add a refreshing coolness to any bowl of hot chili.
Combining Nutella and mascarpone creates a fluffy pie filling. It is fast, easy, and sweet. Here is a printable recipe.
Perk Up Scrambled Eggs
Did you ever think to add mascarpone to eggs? It makes for an incredibly satisfying breakfast and tastes great when paired with salted meats, like bacon.
Potatoes and Grits
Mascarpone brightens up mashed potatoes and adds further richness when stirred into potatoes au gratin. Grits easily absorb the buttery flavor.
Many people do not know that mascarpone is the secret ingredient to tiramisu. Tiramisu is a dessert from Italy made from ladyfinger vanilla cookies, which are drenched in coffee. The treat is layers and topped with chocolate.
Tiramisu is another dish that can be prepared quickly, but it does need time to chill. You will want to make the coffee ahead of time; it needs to be cold. Here are the ingredients you will need.
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup homemade mascarpone cheese
- 2 1/2 cups cold black coffee
- Ten individual cookies or 1 package of ladyfinger cookies
- Dusting chocolate or cocoa powder
Combine the heavy whipping cream, sugar, and vanilla extract then add your homemade mascarpone and set aside. Have the cold coffee ready in a bowl. Dip each cookie into the coffee, soaking for just a second or two.
Here is where you can get creative. Place the coffee soaked ladyfingers on the bottom of a square baking dish, or glass parfait cups if you want to make single serving. Pour the cream mixture over the cookies and smooth out. Repeat until you have at least two layers, or you have filled the container.
Refrigerate for 2 hours. If your tiramisu has many layers, it may take more than 2 hours to set. Dust with chocolate or cocoa powder right before serving.
One more secret of mascarpone is that it is used savory dishes. One very versatile recipe is a cream sauce, which taste delicious with pasta or chicken. This recipe calls for Romano cheese, but you can substitute any hard cheese, such as parmesan or Asiago.
Mascarpone Cream Sauce
- 1/4 cup of butter
- 1 cup mascarpone cheese
- 1⁄2 cup grated Romano cheese
- heavy cream or milk to taste
Start by melting the butter over low-medium heat. Once melted, add the mascarpone. Next, add the Romano cheese, and stir until well combined.
Be careful not to get the sauce too hot because it will clump. Add heavy cream or milk if the sauce is too thick.
At this point, you can sprinkle with nutmeg, pepper, oregano, or any other spice that will complement the pasta or chicken dish.
Last and probably the most unusual secret about mascarpone, it makes a delicious beverage. Lattes with mascarpone are Italian favorites.
Coffee with Mascarpon
You can modify this recipe to meet any specific tastes: stronger, creamier, or sweeter.
- A scoop of mascarpone
- 1 cup coffee or espresso
- Milk, cream, half-and-half, sweetened condensed milk
- Cinnamon or cocoa powder
Prepare your coffee or espresso as normal and add your desired milk product. Float a dollop of mascarpone on the top and give it a gentle stir to swirl it. Optionally, you can dust the topping with cinnamon or chocolate.
If you are looking for a cold mascarpone drink, try a fruit smoothie. Here is a recipe for a strawberry smoothie shake.
Mascarpone is a versatile cheese and topping. From sweet to savory, to desserts and main dishes, it is a secret weapon in any kitchen.
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