Wednesday, April 24, 2013

How to make Mascarpone Cheese

The time to save is now. When a dog gets a bone, he doesn't go out and make a down payment on a bigger bone. He buries the one he's got. – Will Rogers 

The end result. Well worth the 2 day wait.

Let's face it. All cheese is expensive. Sadly, the ones that I like seem to be among the priciest. Among them is mascarpone. That's the one commonly used in tiramisu, the classic Italian dessert.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful to be able to make it at home and save a little cash... 

I purchased a cheese making magazine a while back and was surprised to see a recipe for mascarpone. It looked so easy. And it was!

Mascarpone has existed for a long time. It dates back to the Lombardy region of Italy of the late 1500s. It is unclear where the name originated but it is possibly related to another milk product called mascarpa.

Mascarpone is made by coagulating cream via tartaric acid, citric acid, or lemon juice. After coagulation the whey is slowly drained out. 

This means, because of all the sitting, it isn’t a cheese you can just whip up like ricotta, which is ready in less that an hour. You have to plan for when you need it.

Aside from the 48 hours for the whole process, this cheese is a breeze. I made much more than I needed (word to the wise) unless I plan on making a big tiramisu. 

The quantities listed are for the larger amount, but feel free to halve it. The result will be the same. Go big or go home, I say.

Mascarpone makes the cholesterol police go on red alert. I always remember Julia Child’s admonition: “Everything in moderation, including moderation.” She was right of course. A steady diet of too much of anything will kill you, probably even broccoli. Variety is the spice of life, said the drake to the hen...

This stuff should be treated with some respect. The finished product has about 60%-75% butter fat. We’ll just leave that fact to settle in…

Mascarpone is the colour of cream and is thick like a spread. It has many uses (including in tiramisu). It can be served in savoury dishes or as a fresh fruit topping. It can also be used as a substitute for butter, or for parmesan in pasta sauces or in risotto.

The important fact is that it is wonderfully delicious and addictive. But just like everything else in life, don’t overdo it.

An important note about this recipe is price. To purchase this amount of mascarpone costs at least $12.99 CAN. To make it costs half that amount, if not less.

Homemade Mascarpone
Time: 2 days  |  Yield about 3 cups
2 cups 36% whipping cream
2 cups 18% coffee cream
2 tbsp lemon juice
instant read thermometer
double boiler (or similar homemade contraption)

The cream mixture needs to be around 25% butter fat. To do so use the two different creams. The ingredients above make a combination of 27%. Close enough.

Combine the cream in the top part of a double boiler. I do not own a double boiler so I inserted a smaller pot inside another pot partly filled with water. It works just fine.

Raise the temperature of the cream to 185°F. Scalded milk is 180°F so a little beyond that stage. You really need to use a thermometer… (remember yesterday’s post?)

Once the cream reaches 185°F on the thermometer, reduce the heat to hold it at 185°F and stir in the lemon juice. This is barely a low simmer – certainly not a boil.

Mix well. Cover the pot, hold the temperature at low simmer and let cook for 5 minutes.

Remove the pot from the double boiler. You will notice that the cream has thickened slightly. It will thicken more as it cools.

Place the pot with the cream in the refrigerator for 24 hours.

After 24 hours you will see the cream has thickened more (second photo at top). Strain the cream/cheese over a bowl through fine cloth lining a sieve to remove the excess moisture. Let it sit, back in the refrigerator, for another 24 hours.

After 24 hours remove the cheese from the cloth and place in a storage container. The cheese will last refrigerated for about one week.

This is the cheese, plus all the whey that came out. keep that whey! You can
use in in making bread, watering plants, as a treat for your pets...

You know, I really like comments... I really do.

Questions? Comments? Derogatory remarks? Just ask! I’ll answer quickly and as best as I can. If you like this post feel free to share it. If you repost, please give me credit and a link back to this site.


  1. So have you done this? I plan to do it the next time I make Tiramisu.....whenever that may be. Although I don't have any cheesecloth in the house, oh and I need a new I guess it won't be cheaper for me when I make it :)

  2. Those are my photos, Sue. You can use cheap pillowcases from the dollar store too. Just not too tight a weave or it will take forever to drain.

  3. Good to know, but I'd probably use the cheesecloth anyway :)