Mascarpone is one of the most delicious, creamy, and indulgent cheeses I have ever tried. It is terrific in cheesecakes, desserts like tiramisu or cannoli, or as a decadent topping or frosting for fruit and cakes. So, when I saw this recipe amongst the many cheesemaking recipes I had to check it out and see just how much was entailed in making such a delicious cheese.
It turns out that mascarpone cheese is quite simple to make. Rennet is not called for in the recipe. Instead, cream of tartar or lemon juice are used to thicken the cream into cheese. Beyond that it is a simple procedure that I could follow in my home kitchen. And, if we ever fulfill that dream of owning a milk animal, I think I will.
- 1 quart cream or half-and-half
- 1/4 teaspoon tartaric acid (cream of tartar) or 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- Butter muslin (tight-weave cheese cloth) or tea towel
- In a double boiler, gently heat the cream to 190°F. Be sure to use a thermometer to avoid overheating. While the cream is heating, dissolve the tartaric acid into 2 tablespoons of water. Once the cream has reached 190°F, remove the cream from the heat and add the tartaric acid mixture or the lemon juice. Whisk into the cream for 30 seconds to be sure it is thoroughly blended. Allow the cream mixture to sit for 5 minutes while stirring occasionally. The cream will thicken to a consistency similar to farina and should coat the back of the spoon.
- Place a colander in a bowl and line the colander with sterile butter muslin or a sterile tea towel. Pour the coagulated cream into the cloth and let the whey drain for 1 to 2 hours or until the desired consistency is achieved. Spoon the mascarpone into a storage container and place in the refrigerator to chill. As it chills it will continue to thicken a bit. While mascarpone should be consumed within a day or two for optimal flavor, it can be stored in the refrigerator for up to a week.