Monday, February 18, 2013

Homemade Mascarpone Cheese

Mascarpone 2

Mascarpone cheese is one of my favourite ingredients to cook with.  Now, admittedly, it doesn't taste particularly exciting on its own, but combined with other flavours it becomes a knock-out.  Mix with a little sugar and scrape in a freshly split vanilla pod, for a fantastic accompaniment to poached stone fruit or pears, or summer berries.  Or use as an ingredient in savoury sauces - I love it stirred into a pan full of sauteed mushrooms for an instant mushroom sauce to go over pasta or polenta, or even a grilled steak if you lean that way.  I even love it mixed with some freshly grated lemon zest and stirred into risotto just before serving.  And of course, where would the classic tiramisu be without it?

For all that, much as I love mascarpone, it's not an ingredient that finds its way into my shopping basket on a regular basis.  The price of mascarpone at the supermarket is ridiculous, and living on a fairly tight budget, as I do, it's something that falls into the "occasional luxury" category rather than a regular stand-by.

But no more.  I have just discovered that not only is mascarpone ridiculously easy to make, but you can make a batch for a fraction of the price of buying it.  I think I can now safely say that mascarpone just pretty much became a staple ingredient in my fridge, and what's more I will never buy store bought again.

My batch of homemade mascarpone cost me $3.49 to make, and yielded 300g.  By comparison, store bought mascarpone averaged out across the board at $8.11 for 300g.  So making mine at home worked out at less than half the price.  And you know what else I like about that?  When I examined most packets of store bought product, the ingredients listed usually showed cream, food acid, thickeners and stablisers.  My homemade version contained just cream and lemon juice - that's it - nothing else - nada!

Now of course, because it is lacking in any preservatives, it won't keep as long as store-bought product - you will need to use it within 4-5 days.  But seriously, you're not making this stuff just to have it sitting around.  So, go and give it a try - find out just how easy this is.  Then eat the lot and make another batch - at this price you can afford to.

Homemade Mascarpone Recipe
Vegetarian
Makes approx 300g (10-1/2 oz)
Click here for a printable copy of this recipe

500ml cream (17 fl oz)
1 tablespoon lemon juice

You will also need:
sieve
thermometer
muslin

Put cream into a small to medium sized, heavy bottom saucepan over medium heat, and heat cream until it reaches a temperature of 88 degrees C (190 degrees F).  Stir regularly to make sure it doesn't catch on the bottom, and don't leave unattended - if it boils over, not only will your mascarpone be ruined, but you will have a nasty mess to clean up.

Once temperature has been reached, add the lemon juice to the pan, and continue to cook for a further 5 minutes.  You will feel the cream start to thicken almost immediately the lemon juice is added.  Try to maintain temperature at 88 degrees C (190 degrees F) throughout, and stir constantly.

Remove pan from the heat and allow to cool for about half an hour.

Line a sieve with four layers of muslin, and place over a bowl.   Pour the cooled cream into the lined sieve, cover with plastic wrap, and put in the fridge for several hours (overnight is ideal) allowing any whey to drain away and the mascarpone to thicken.  I only had about a tablespoon of whey drain off, and my mascarpone thickened up a lot overnight.

Scoop the strained cheese into an airtight container and store in the fridge.  Use within a week.

Make sure you visit again soon to discover how I used my mascarpone in a Maple Mascarpone Frosting for a Green Tomato & Walnut cake - sounds weird I know, but trust me when I tell you it was sublime.  I also used the mascarpone in a roasted tomato and mascarpone sauce for pasta, which I will also share with you shortly.


17 comments:

  1. That is an incredible saving! I pretty much gave up making cheese because it was so much more expensive than buying it, but in New Zealand where cheese is so expensive... Intrigued to see the green tomato cake recipe too!

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    1. You're right - the price of cheese in New Zealand is ridiculous. Even I was surprised though at just how much cheaper this worked out than the bought stuff.

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  2. this is the second homemade mascarpone cheese recipe I have seen this week. I think the internet gods are telling me I need to make this!

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    1. You should definitely take it as a sign, Pam. Hope you enjoy it.

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  3. You are awesome!
    And I will have no problem finishing before it spoils ;-)

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    1. Thanks, Michelle. I had no problem either - polished the whole lot off within two days!

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  4. This sounds delicious and easy. I made mascarpone using a culture - a bit like making yoghurt, and that was yummy too.

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    1. Thanks, Shelley - very delicious and easy. I haven't tried using a culture yet, but just came across a recipe for cream cheese which uses one, so that is now on my list of things to try.

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  5. I am in the same "doesn't go into the shopping cart" boat, so this is great! By the way, seriously waiting for that green tomato cake........

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    1. Definitely has appeal for those of us living on a budget, Melynda - hope you try it. Green tomato cake coming very, very soon.

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  6. Glad I read this, I love mascarpone. Love it sweet or in pasta. Looks lovely Sue so must give it a go.

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    1. Do try it, Lesley. It is so incredibly easy, and great in all sorts of dishes both sweet and savoury.

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  7. Bellisimo! Must give this one a go & I'll be back soon to read aobut that cake! I am most definitely intrigued! Hope all is well in sunny Neslon! xx

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    1. I promise the cake will be worth it, Mairi. All great in very sunny Nelson :-)

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  8. You are now an inspired home cheese-maker Sue! I love mascarpone so will be giving this a go :) Looking forward to the cake receip too.

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  9. That's it, you've convinced me I need to make my own Marscapone. I use it as often as my conscience allows me to splurge at the supermarket. Thanks for the inspiration.

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  10. I pinned this because I know I will be needing this. I am thinking tiramisu now.

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