Creamy homemade mascarpone cheese is an easy homemade cheese recipe that’s fun to make right in your own kitchen — use it in all sorts of authentic Italian recipes, both sweet and savory — and save a lot of money while you’re at it!
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 find it. You probably know it as a critical ingredient in Tiramisu, and I l love to sneak it into Risotto to give it a rich finish. I blend it up with whipped cream as a topping for my No Bake Black Bottom Cheesecake Squares and it’s even in my Roasted Fig Ice Cream!
What is mascarpone?
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.
What you’ll need to make homemade mascarpone cheese
- a clip on thermometer
- and a piece of cheesecloth for draining the cheese.
How to make mascarpone cheese:
- The first step in making mascarpone cheese is to bring heavy cream up to a boil in a pot on the stove.
- You’ll add lemon juice, which coagulates and thickens the cream. There won’t be any actual curds, because heavy cream doesn’t curdle like milk does.
- You’ll drain it to remove any whey (the thin liquid leftover) and then you are left with an incredibly rich cheese.
Most cheese making recipes specify using heavy cream that has not been ultra-pasteurized
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 ultra-pasteurized heavy cream ~ and it worked!
The batch of cheese made with regular ultra-pasteurized cream 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.
- 2 cups heavy cream, non-ultra-pasteurized is preferable
- 1-2 Tbsp fresh squeezed lemon juice
- Pour the cream into a small heavy bottomed pot and heat on medium until it reaches 190 degrees F on a candy thermometer. Heat the cream gently so it doesn't scorch.
- Add the lemon juice, and keep the cream at 190F 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.
- Let the cream cool to room temperature, which will take about half an hour.
- 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.
- Remove the cheese from the cheesecloth and keep in a tightly closed container in the refrigerator until ready to use.
- Makes approximately 1 1/4 cups. Plan to use the cheese within a week or so.
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