I was working on a recipe recently that called for some mascarpone cheese, and as I stole a few tastes as I was preparing the meal, I was hypnotized once again by the lovely flavor and heavenly body of this decadent triple-cream cheese. I began making all kinds of plans for mascarpone.
Typically used in Tiramisu, mascarpone is a versatile cheese that can be easily mixed as a decadent dessert topping or a creamy pasta sauce. There are a few Wisconsin-made options such as Crave Brothers that are available locally at the market. But I like to slow down, take my time, and prepare adequate mascarpone-style cheese at home with a few ingredients.
• Pour 32 oz. (2 bottles) of Cedar Summit cream in a stainless-steel double-boiler, and warm to 185 degrees.
• Dissolve 1/4 teaspoon of tartaric acid (or 2 tablespoons lemon juice) in 2 tablespoons of water.
• Stir dissolved tartaric acid or lemon juice into the hot cream, and stir it well. The mixture will thicken rapidly. Keep it at about 185 degrees for five minutes, stirring occasionally.
• Refrigerate covered for 12 hours in the stainless steel inner pot (or transfer the mixture to a clean plastic container with lid). The whey should separate somewhat in that time.
• To drain, line a sieve with a few layers of dampened cheesecloth and set it over a bowl. Pour the mixture into the lined sieve. Once it has cooled, cover it and refrigerate in the sieve overnight.
• Transfer the mascarpone in an air-tight container and refrigerate. Use within a week.
• Flavor it! Lemon zest, orange zest, liqueurs, and fresh vanilla bean are all wonderful additions.
I’ve already decided that the next batch of cupcakes I make will be gingery carrot cupcakes topped with a mascarpone-based icing, à la Sweets Bakeshop.
Pictured above: Sweets Bakeshop’s carrot cake topped with mascarpone frosting and carrot cashew brittle. (Shown with a red wrapper. Available upon request for additional fee.)