After Tiramisu Cake, I just had to tell you about the mascarpone cheese I made at home, how could I not! Sounded like a simple enough process, but somehow a bit intimidating as a thought for some strange reason. I very rarely make cottage cheese or paneer at home, so you can imagine me shying away from making mascarpone. I do love cheese in my pizza and pasta when we eat out, but cheese at home is limited to getting slices of low-fat cheese for the kids' sandwiches. I finally took the plunge and made Mascarpone Cheese and absolutely loved it! I am not a butter cream person at all and most of the cakes I make are with whipped cream as you would have noticed. Oh, you did not ?? !!, puhleez do!!:).
Mascarpone added a delicious new dimension to the taste of the frosting and am I glad I got introduced to it! It made a finger-licking, lick-the-bowl and lick-the-spatula uber yum coffee mascarpone. Thanks so much Vera for this recipe which has created quite a stir! And you can surely expect more versions of the Tiramisu and more desserts with mascarpone on Cakes And More..I made this the previous day I made Tiramisu Cake and was in a rush to finish this and more for the next day's cake before my daughter arrived. I managed to take some pictures, dreary ones alright, in my kitchen with very little natural light. I do hope, you would find this useful if you would be attempting making mascarpone at home for the first time. So here comes...
Recipe adapted from Vera's Baking Obsession.
Makes about 348 grams /12 ozIngredients:
- 500 ml cream (I used 2 and 1/2 Amul 200 ml packs which is 25% fat as we do not get heavy cream here)original recipe has whipping (36 %) pasteurized (not ultra-pasteurized), preferably organic cream Basically a cream with 33-36% fat (please refer note below)
- 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
Bring 1 inch of water to a boil in a wide and high skillet (a deep large kadhai perhaps would work best). Reduce the heat to medium-low so the water is barely simmering. Pour the cream into a medium heat-resistant bowl, I have used a steel one. Then place the bowl into the skillet, yes, the bowl needs to sit in the simmering water. If your skillet is not high enough, the water may overflow once you place the bowl in the water. In this case, keep some hot water handy to replace the water in the skillet.
Heat the cream, stirring often, to 190 F. It will take about 15 minutes of delicate heating. I do not have a thermometer, so I have just heated it for 15 minutes. Add the lemon juice and continue heating the mixture, stirring gently, until the cream curdles. It will thicken when curdled. The picture below is after I added the lemon juice. As you can see, the cream will not separate and not look anything like milk curdling while making cottage cheese / paneer. Except for the tiny granules you can see here and there.. notice it on the spatula...and of course the thickening.
All that the whipping cream will do is become thicker, like a well-done crème anglaise. It will cover a back of your wooden spoon thickly. You will see just a few clear whey streaks when you stir. It almost looks the same( as it looks on adding the lemon juice) after a few minutes after adding the lemon juice.
Remove the bowl from the water and let cool for about 20 minutes. Meanwhile, line a sieve with four layers of dampened cheesecloth and set it over a bowl. Transfer the mixture into the lined sieve. Noticed a slight wobble to the cheese when I transferred it from the bowl to the lined sieve.
The fresh cheese in the sieve immediately on transferring...
Do not squeeze the cheese in the cheesecloth or press on its surface. As Vera promises, the cheese indeed firms up after refrigeration. Once cooled completely, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate (in the sieve) overnight or up to 24 hours. The first picture is of the mascarpone after almost 20 hours of refrigeration. It was not creamy, more firm and very fine textured in a smooth, crumbly sort of way. I wish I had checked and seen the cheese say an hour or so after putting it into the fridge. It would have been firm, yet creamy then perhaps..
More insights from Vera compiled from the comments on her post:
- The resulting cheese is supposed to be very smooth in texture, mild-tasting - not salty or tangy
- Vera recommends a thermometer to measure the temperature of the cream while heating as heating time would largely depend on the heat from your heating source.
- Cream : If you would be using normal full fat cream, use the one with the highest fat content.
- You can use ultra pasteurized cream too, but she says she likes the flavor of the pasteurized cream better.
- Any cream with high fat content (33-36%) will work in this recipe. Though I have used a cream with much lower fat content, the results were quite good.
- She recommends eating the mascarpone within a couple of days as its at its best fresh. It will keep longer about up to the expiration date of the cream, but the cheese tastes best when it’s really fresh.
- Do not over beat or it may turn into butter due to its high fat content. Just whisking it gently with a wire whisk (even when it is firm) will be enough.
- If using it along with some other cheese or cream (as in Tiramisu), do not combine the cheeses and cream and then whip. Whip the cream and the other cheese separately, whisk the mascarpone separately then combine.
- If you would be making mascarpone for making one recipe of Dorie Greenspan's Tiramisu cake, you would need 232 grams / 8 oz of mascarpone. Which means you will be left with some extra mascarpone from this recipe.
As always, I would surely update here after trying this a couple of times more, I would hopefully be mascarpone-wiser then:-) And again, insights from people who have tried this already would be appreciated and most welcome!