Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Save money, make your own Mascarpone Cheese

Without frugality none would be rich, and with it very few would be poor. – Samuel Johnson 

The end result. Well worth the 2 day wait.

(This is a re-post, but who doesn't want to save money at Xmas!)

The Christmas season is probably for most people the most expensive time of the year. Even not counting gift buying, there's a thousand things to suck up your money. Food is often a big culprit.

This post covers how to make your own mascarpone cheese. It's disgustingly expensive in stores and is often called for in many "fancy" desserts. So if you're entertaining this holiday, you may want to make this. It doesn't take much active time, and very little skill.

This full recipe makes about 3 cups of mascarpone, which would cost you at least $12-$15 at the grocery store. Full cost of the ingredients is about half that amount.

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

Aside from the 48 hours for the whole process, this cheese is a breeze. It makes much more than you probably need (word to the wise) unless you're making a big dessert, like tiramisu for 12 or so... 

So 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.” 

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.

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...

If you like this post, feel free to share it. All I ask for is credit and a link back to this page.

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