How to Make Mascarpone at Home
Mascarpone is a fresh Italian cheese that’s similar in texture to cream cheese or clotted cream. It’s a versatile cheese that can be used in dips, desserts, and classic Italian dishes.
Making mascarpone at home is easy and surprisingly inexpensive. The only things you need are heavy cream and lemon juice.
You can also substitute other creamy ingredients like ricotta or cream cheese, although mascarpone has a much butterier texture than those other products. If you’re short on time, store-bought mascarpone can be an excellent alternative in many recipes.
How to Make Mascarpone at Home: Step-by-Step Instructions
The secret to making mascarpone is acidity. When you add citric or tartaric acid to a batch of cream, it causes the milk proteins to coagulate and solidify. This produces curds that can be easily strained and packaged for sale.
Commercial producers use this process in their cheese factories, but you can do it in your kitchen. To prepare mascarpone at home, start with heavy cream that is pasteurized and NOT ultra-pasteurized (you can find this at Whole Foods). Stir in a couple tablespoons of fresh lemon juice or bottled lemon juice.
Cook the mixture to 190o F, stirring frequently until it thickens. The lemon juice creates a tangy flavor that will help your mascarpone taste as good as it can.
Drain and chill.
Once your mascarpone has cooled, transfer it to a fine mesh sieve or cheesecloth-lined strainer and refrigerate. You should have about 12 ounces of soft, rich, creamy mascarpone.
You can eat it straight up as a creamy spread or drizzled with honey or fruit. You can also use mascarpone to give baked goods, scones, and muffins a silky, velvety texture.
If you’re making a dessert, try replacing whipped cream with mascarpone for a tangy, sweetened topping. Tiramisu, for instance, uses a layer of mascarpone whipped with eggs and sugar. You can also buy a version from BelGioioso that’s made with vanilla and rum for an extra boozy finish.
How to Make Sweetened Mascarpone at Home: Step-by-Step Directions
To make sweetened mascarpone, whisk together 16 ounces of mascarpone cheese and 1/2 cup sugar until light and fluffy. You can also mix in a few egg yolks for a more cream-like consistency.
When the mixture has thickened, add a teaspoon of vanilla and a tablespoon of confectioner’s sugar. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 24 hours.
You should have soft peaks, but if you want firm peaks, wait for the cream to cool and strain it again. You can even use the strained mascarpone as a topping for your favorite cakes.
You can also freeze homemade mascarpone for up to 6 weeks and thaw it before using. Thawed mascarpone can be used in recipes where the cheese is going to be the star ingredient, such as soups or sauces. It can also be incorporated into cookies, but it’s best used as a spread or for desserts.