Homemade Mascarpone Cheese

You know I love me a good DIY project.  This one was especially satisfying because mascarpone, the creamy Italian soft cheese, is such a high end product.  It can be hard to find, and it’s expensive when you do.  You probably know it as a critical ingredient in TIRAMISU, and I l love to sneak it into RISOTTOS to give them a rich finish.  Mascarpone is called a ‘cheese’ in the technical sense, but it is very close in flavor and texture to a British clotted cream, so it’s perfect on scones and biscuits, too.  To qualify as a great DIY project a recipe has to be relatively easy to pull off, and the finished product has to be a spot on version of the original.  This homemade mascarpone ticks both boxes deliciously.

Making Homemade Mascarpone Cheese

You will need a couple of pieces of equipment — a clip on thermometer for the pan, and a piece of  cheesecloth for draining the cheese.  You are going to be bringing heavy cream up to a boil, and then adding lemon juice to coagulate and thicken it.  There won’t be any actual curds, because heavy cream doesn’t curdle like milk does.  You’ll drain it to remove any whey, and then you are left with an incredibly rich cheese.

DIY Mascarpone Cheese

All cheese making recipes specify using heavy cream that has not been ultra-pasteurized as the starting point.  It’s one of those truisms that gets passed from recipe to recipe.  Ultra-pasteurizing just means that the milk is flash heated to a higher point than regular pasteurization.  Almost all heavy cream is ultra-pasteurized nowadays, because it results in a longer shelf life, so finding anything else can be a challenge.   I actually  made my first batch with regular heavy cream because I am an impatient sort, and it turned out almost identical to the next batch I made with the non-ultra-pasteurized cream I found at Whole Foods.  The only difference I could tell was that the ultra-pasteurized cream resulted in a lightly softer end product.  So make what you will of that.  Common wisdom says to use non ultra-pasteurized cream.

Homemade Mascarpone

Ingredients

  • 2 cups heavy cream (non-ultra-pasteurized is preferable)
  • 1-2 Tbsp fresh squeezed lemon juice

Instructions

  1. Pour the cream into a small heavy bottomed pot and heat on medium until it reaches 190 degrees on a candy thermometer. Heat the cream gently so it doesn't scorch.
  2. Add the lemon juice, and keep the cream at 190 for another 5 minutes, stirring gently. I found it easiest to keep moving the pot on and off the flame to maintain the temperature. The cream will thicken and coat the back of the spoon.
  3. Let the cream cool to room temperature, which will take about half an hour.
  4. Line a mesh strainer with several layers of cheesecloth, and set that over a bowl to catch the dripping whey. Pour the cream into the cheesecloth. Cover loosely with plastic and refrigerate for 8 hours.
  5. Remove the cheese from the cheesecloth and keep in a tightly closed container in the refrigerator until ready to use.
  6. Plan to use the cheese within a week or so.
http://theviewfromgreatisland.com/minimal-monday-homemade-mascarpone/

How to Make Mascarpone Cheese

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29 Responses to Minimal Monday: Homemade Mascarpone

  1. Estelle says:

    This looks terrific.. two questions.. we have our own cows – can we use the cream that we skim from our cow milk when pasteurizing this to make the mascarpone? and second, do you know how many ounces of mascarpone each recipe makes?
    thanks!

    • Sue says:

      I’m sure the cream from your cows will make a spectacular cheese, Estelle — how lucky you are! And I think the recipe makes about 8 oz of mascarpone. Have fun!

  2. allyn says:

    lovely recipe! already printed and added to my favorite research cookbook. but I’m curious—-is there anything to be done with the whey?

    • Sue says:

      There isn’t very much whey left, actually, so I just discarded it. You can definitely use it in soups and stews, or smoothies if you like!

  3. Your mascarpone looks incredible! Who knew it was so easy to make at home? Must give this a try!

  4. Sue, next time I make tiramisu I’ll be sure to use these directions for my own mascarpone! Looks wonderful!

  5. Christina says:

    Tie me down. I want this NOW!! OMG, it looks so creamy and perfect and does look like clotted cream! Another one on my list! I can’t keep up, Sue!

  6. this is my most favorite thing EVER!!

  7. Penny says:

    I never thought to make my own mascarpone Sue. Great idea. Beautiful photos.

  8. I love making my own mascarpone! It’s so easy and a good price compared to the bought stuff. I must remember to put it in risotto at the end!

  9. wow…it has turned out so creamy and smooth! Well done, Susan.

  10. Mascarpone is the BEST! And it is so expensive too–I NEED to do this asap. Love this post! It is always so fun to learn how to make some of these basic grocery store staples at home!

  11. Amanda says:

    I need to make this now!

  12. i didn’t know it could be this easy. I mean wow- you are going to change me into a homemade mascarpone girl instead of store-bought! lOL!

  13. I rarely buy mascarpone as it is so expensive – I avoid recipes requiring it. What a find this is, and what great photos.

  14. cheri says:

    Hi Sue, this is something that I never would of thought to make myself and it is so hard to get ahold of here. What a really great idea!!!

  15. ahu says:

    What a fun and beautiful post! I am a DIY project nut – and I’d totally shmear this on some bread with some jam.

  16. karen marie says:

    One of my favorite dinners is pasta with mascarpone and asparagus. While the pasta cooks, warm mascarpone either by placing it in a bowl sitting on top of the water the pasta is cooking in or in the microwave. When it’s very soft, stir in lemon zest and juice and fresh-ground black pepper to taste. Toss asparagus in with pot with pasta when the pasta has a minute or so left to cook. Stir grated parmesan cheese into the mascarpone/lemon. Drain pasta/asparagus, dress with mascarpone/lemon. Voila! It is so good! I’m not giving specific amounts because you all are clever people, and amounts depend on how many people you are feeding.

  17. sippitysup says:

    There is also a tang that comes from non-pasteurized cream, which I notice when I make butter sometimes. GREG

    • Sue says:

      That’s interesting. I did read that ultra pasteurization can give a slight ‘cooked taste as a result of the high heat. Maybe the heat affects any tanginess, too.

  18. Mary S says:

    I rarely buy mascarpone because it is so difficult to find a really good brand and when I do, it is usually very expensive. Now, I can make my own very creamy, very delicious, very quick mascarpone! Thank you, thank you, Sue!!

  19. Having spend several years in the UK, I developed quite a taste for clotted cream on my scones, and have always wondered how to make it. Thank you so much! Pinned :)

    • Sue says:

      You know I spent time in London and developed the same taste for clotted cream, too. I looked into making it and it’s very complicated, so this is a really great substitute!

  20. Catherine says:

    I will definitely be trying this recipe!! I am looking forward to it. Blessings dear. Catherine

  21. Wow – this is a creamy bowl of beautiful cheese! I am craving cheesecake or anything with mascarpone now – drooling! Should have eaten lunch before visiting your blog :) Beautiful creamy pictures too :)

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