• Cheese or cream? You decide. (Camellia Aebischer)Source: Camellia Aebischer
I truly couldn’t believe how easy it was to make mascarpone at home, and it tastes just like the store-bought stuff.
Camellia Ling Aebischer

11 Mar 2021 - 10:47 AM  UPDATED 12 Mar 2021 - 12:09 PM

Treading the line between cheese and cream is mascarpone. It’s a curdled cream product that uses techniques common in making ricotta and labneh.

It’s a vital ingredient in tiramisu also delicious paired with fruit or accompanying a tart. It’s really simple to make at home, so next time you need a lot of it and have a night to spare, try this recipe.

All you need to do is bring some cream to a simmer, add lemon juice, then strain like you would labneh. The result is thick and spoonable with a signature fine-grain appearance and a very slight tang.

A couple of things to note before you dive in, don’t worry if the cream is quite runny before it gets strained, it will firm up a lot – mine was like liquid when it was warm and came out so stiff I could pick it up in one piece.

You’ll also need a good straining cloth that will hold the runny liquid. I used a clean tea towel, but it left a few fibres behind. You could use Chux or cheesecloth but make sure you layer it liberally, so the cream doesn’t just run through.

Make this
Pici with lemon mascarpone

The sauce doesn’t even need its own pan – it is simply warmed over the pot as the pasta is cooking – making for a simple meal that doesn’t require you to stand at the stove for long periods of time.

All you'll need is cream and some lemon juice.

How to make mascarpone

Take 2 cups of pouring or thickened cream and bring to a simmer in a small pot on the stove, stirring so it doesn’t burn. Add the juice of half a small lemon and stir, simmering for a few minutes. It should thicken slightly.

Set aside to cool slightly and prepare a cloth-lined sieve over a bowl. Leave enough overhang to fold the edges over the top.

Pour the cooled cream into the cloth-lined sieve and fold over the edges, or tie them together into a bundle – this will stop it drying out too much.

Place the whole thing in the fridge overnight to strain. If it’s not firm enough, just leave it a couple of hours longer. You should end up with about 1 ¼ cups.

Remove mascarpone from the cloth and place in an airtight container. Refrigerate and use within 5 days.

Tiramisu anyone?

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Classic tiramisu

This Italian classic is creamy, delicious and coffee-spiked. I haven’t met anyone who doesn't love tiramisu with a passion!

Apple, mascarpone and cinnamon cake

The mascarpone gives the cake a creamy density and moistness and a beautiful zest when mixed with the lemon.

Mascarpone pastry

This is a great recipe, it’s easy to work with and very forgiving. Make it in a big batch and keep it in the freezer so it’s on hand whenever the mood strikes you to whip up a quick tart.