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« Ladyfingers | Main | Mai Tai & Hawaii »
Tuesday
Apr242012

Homemade Mascarpone

Homemade Mascarpone

I first encountered mascarpone in an Italian chain restaurant. Going out on a limb, I suggested ordering dessert, a feat I only reserve for the most elite occasions. Tiramisu, my friend ordered for us as I nervously propped the dessert menu back on the edge of the table.

I was in the middle of the long stage of my life known only as Afraid to Try New Things, a stage that most certainly applied to food. I knew very little about Tiramisu. In fact, the entire sum of my knowledge about it came solely from the picture on the dessert menu. It was only natural for me to be wary of it, eyeing it like a sworn enemy until it proved itself otherwise. My friend, of course, knew none of the internal conflict brewing at the thought of consuming a dessert that wasn't completely and exclusively chocolate.

The first bite of Tiramisu, however, was bliss. As was the second and third, as I fought to devour the dessert faster than my friend could keep pace.

Homemade Mascarpone

Once I started baking (and properly eating), mascarpone cheese found its way into some of my most beloved desserts. It was bittersweet, however. Mascarpone was (and is) an incredibly expensive cheese—nearly eight dollars at the local market—so I only used it on very rare occasions, for birthday cakes and holiday sweets.

I wish someone had told me that you could make your own mascarpone cheese years ago. Someone to not only inform me that it was possible to make, but that it was dead simple to do so.

I want to be that someone for you.

Homemade Mascarpone

Cheese making can certainly sound like an intimidating art form but I'd argue that, in the realm of art, creating mascarpone ranks in difficulty somewhere among drawing stick figures. This cheese only requires ten minutes of active time out of your day. Did I mention it's also cheap to make? A cup and a half of mascarpone cost me precisely two dollars to produce.

Two dollars.

I will never buy a tub of mascarpone at the supermarket again.

Homemade Mascarpone

Homemade Mascarpone looks and tastes just as the store bought version. It's also quite simple to make, only requiring a couple special tools, and is drastically cheaper to cook up on your own. Mascarpone cheese isn't very good to eat by itself (imagine eating a spoonful of butter), but it is perfect to use as an ingredient for savory and dessert recipes alike. Next time you want to try out a recipe calling for mascarpone cheese, give this recipe a try!

One Year Ago: Snow Cones and Strawberry Milk

Homemade Mascarpone
Adapted from a dozen sources, all using the same ingredients in the same amount

Yields about 1 1/2 cups

2 cups heavy cream, pasteurized (but not ultra-pasteurized)
1 tablespoon lemon juice, freshly squeezed

In a large saucepan, heat heavy cream over medium high heat until a candy thermometer reads 190 degrees F (88 degrees C). The cream should be at a simmer. Be careful not to scorch the bottom! Stir in the lemon juice and continue to heat at 190 degrees F (88 degrees C) for 5 minutes, stirring constantly. The cream should thicken enough to coat the back of a spoon. Remove from heat and allow to cool to room temperature, about 30 to 45 minutes.

Place a strainer lined with 4 layers of cheesecloth (or a few layers of coffee filters) over an empty bowl. Add the cream, cover with plastic wrap, and place in the refrigerator. Allow the cream to strain out for 8-12 hours, preferably overnight. Discard the whey; I only ended up with a couple tablespoons. When finished straining, transfer the cheese to an airtight container and store in the refrigerator.

Use fresh mascarpone cheese within the week.

Reader Comments (60)

I definitely need to try this sometime! I made my own ricotta and paneer and they were both insanely easy and I bet this mascarpone will be the same way :D
This. Sounds. Fantastic.

I have been dying to make tiramisu for SO long now and keep putting it off because my gosh mascarpone cheese is expensive! I NEVER thought of making it myself! Thanks for opening my eyes to the possibilities!
I've also been wanting to make tiramisu but haven't because it's so darn expensive. But now I can. Thanks! :)
04.24.2012 | Unregistered CommenterJill
I've never had marscarpone cheese, but if it's that simple (and cheap!) to make, maybe I should try it.
I have been using mascarpone SO much lately and have hated spending so much on it. Yeesh. Thanks so much for this tut! Can't wait to try :)
04.24.2012 | Unregistered CommenterKaitlin
Looks amazing. I make yogurt and strain it so I'm even all set up with a cheesecloth, and ready to go! I think it can be tough to find good cream (not ultrapasteurized I mean) but luckily I have a good source. I love your photos, I think it must be challenging to get good shots of just those mounds of white.
04.24.2012 | Unregistered CommenterSara
this looks amazing. i think this is how my mom makes homemade paneer (an indian cheese). I need to still try mascarpone cheese. love your site.
Mascarpone is delicious to eat with a spoon, whatchu talkin' about? It's also good with apples. I'll have to try this right away, seriously.
Mascarpone is made of 2 ingredients? You're kidding right? Wow, I really need to give this a try. Thanks for the inspiration!
I never knew how easy it was to make your own mascarpone cheese...this I have to try! I love tiramisu and would love to be able to make the whole thing completely from scratch - such a great idea.
04.25.2012 | Unregistered Commenterthelittleloaf
This sounds easy enough but now I need a good easy Tiramisu recipe, one that doesn't call for raw eggs. Can you rustle one up for me?
04.25.2012 | Unregistered CommenterKaren
I look forward to trying this. Have you tried an unbleached paper coffee filter in lieu of cheesecloth? I often use a paper coffee filter to drain the whey from yogurt (I insert the filter in a wire strainer for support). I mention this because many people won't have cheesecloth on hand but will have coffee filters.
04.25.2012 | Unregistered CommenterKelly
Oh my gosh you are a genius. This is remarkable.
04.26.2012 | Unregistered CommenterKim Bee
Gorgeous photos! I love homemade cheese and mascarpone is one of my favorites! I will definitely be giving this a try and will be putting your blog in my favorites too!
04.26.2012 | Unregistered Commenterrachel
Wow, thanks for sharing this. I can't believe how incredibly easy this is. Gorgeous photos.
Thank you thank you thank you..... so much for the post... :D
I didnt know it is that easy to make mascarpone cheese :)

am bookmarking your page n will definitely try this
04.26.2012 | Unregistered CommenterLisa H
Very cool! Love this idea. I know that we have a cheese-making class at school (during our externship) and I cannot wait.
I am bookmarking this! I always get sticker shock from the mascarpone tub at the supermarket. I like it as a spread on pumpkin bread, but the price really hurt once when I made mascarpone gelato and didn't like it. Thanks for sharing!
I also love your collages and the quotes and snippets you always include.
04.26.2012 | Unregistered CommenterShirley
I use mascarpone cheese all the time and frequently buy the darn expensive little tubs, so I love that you make this from scratch and shared the technique! It's so simple and it turned out beautifully. I want to share this with others, so I am featuring this post in today's Friday Food Fetish roundup (with a link-back and attribution), but please let me know if you have any objections. It's always a pleasure to be following your creations…
04.27.2012 | Unregistered CommenterJavelin Warrior
I love mascarpone cheese and use quite a bit of it in my baking. Funny thing is I'm waiting for my homemade ricotta to finish straining and while killing some time on foodgawker, I came across your post. Will definitely try this tomorrow! Thank you for the recipe!
04.28.2012 | Unregistered CommenterVy
Are you serious? Its this simple? OMG, I will make it from now on. And add it to my list of 'homemade' items. We live overseas...and if you think mascarpone cheese is expensive for you, well double the price and that's what we have to pay. And its nearly the same way to make ricotta cheese and paneer. THANK YOU so much.....now my sweets have a chance to become truly special.
04.28.2012 | Unregistered CommenterJaanL
Great idea, Kristin, this is basically the recipe I follow to make my own ricotta cheese, but I use heavy cream and milk. I supose without the milk the result is more creamy (and more fattening, that's the shame! ;-)
It's soooooo easy, isn't it?

Thanks and congratulations for your site!
This cheese looks amazing! I must try it!
05.4.2012 | Unregistered CommenterElissa
Will not need to buy shop bought mascarpone cheese ever again after using this recipe, thank you for the instructions and having a well designed web page for easy to follow instructions.
05.5.2012 | Unregistered CommenterErafrey
Made it! Love it! THANK YOU!:)
05.16.2012 | Unregistered CommenterKonwalie w kuchni
No. Way. No way, no way, no way.

I LOOOVE mascarpone. And I always have to say it and pretend I'm Giada. I think she was my introduction to it, although I had loved tiramisu for years and just not paid attention to what was IN it.

Oh, my waistline will never be the same.
First, congratulations on being Featured on BlogHer, this recipe is totally easy, and it promises to be delicious, too! Thank you!!

~Virginia
WOW!! you're the best!! i use mascarpone ALL the time!! I can't wait o try this. thank you
06.12.2012 | Unregistered Commentercolleen
Wow thanks so much. I love mascarpone and have never made my own cheese before. You've opened up a new horizon for me!
06.13.2012 | Unregistered CommenterKathy H
I could hug you for this! Homemade cheeses intimidate me but this seems almost fool proof. Thank you for posting.
06.15.2012 | Unregistered CommenterErin Hall
Thanks for sharing. i am going to make my mascarpone this saturday.
06.20.2012 | Unregistered CommentercarmenC
Wow, I didn't know it was so easy - thanks for sharing! I'll have to disagree about eating it plain though - I love stealing spoonfuls whenever I'm using it to bake!
07.10.2012 | Unregistered CommenterMeaghan
I imagine that after only 30 minutes of cooling that the cream would go right through the cheesecloth, wouldn't it?
09.9.2012 | Unregistered CommenterJohn
John-- The cream will be very thick after simmering on the stove and cooling down. The 4 layers of cheesecloth work well to prevent any of the thickened cream from passing through.
09.9.2012 | Registered CommenterKristin Rosenau
You can MAKE this?! Marscapone cheese is a main ingredient in the cherry-amaretto tarts that I love but it sure is expensive. I will sure be trying this, thank you!
11.23.2012 | Unregistered CommenterJess
What do you mean by "heavy cream"? Is that what we in Canada call whipping cream? Thanks. Can't wait to try this recipe!!!
11.24.2012 | Unregistered CommenterJoy
Joy-- You need cream that is at least 36% percent milk fat and is not ultra-pasteurized. I used to live in Canada and would buy heavy cream semi-regularly. Cream that is 36%+ milkfat is generally referred to as heavy cream. Cream less than 36% is usually called whipping cream. I would ask the dairy manager at your local supermarket to help you find what you need!
11.24.2012 | Registered CommenterKristin Rosenau
You can also use 1/4 teaspoon of tartaric acid (aka cream of tartar) if you don't have any lemons (or have a citrus allergy). I'm not sure how easy it is to find in North America nowadays, last time I remember looking for any was in 1978 and the shop assistant gave me tartare sauce instead!

I plan on trying to make this with goat's milk & cream soon as my husband has developed an intolerance to cow's milk. I don't think it's fair that he misses out on things like cheesecake, especially if I can find suitable substitutes (the soy stuff just doesn't have the right texture).
11.24.2012 | Unregistered CommenterKayla
I frequently make ricotta cheese in almost exactly the same manner, except I use about 2L of milk with 2 tablespoons of plain white vinegar and a dash of salt. I find that if I let it sit for half an hour, I get barely a half cup of solids after straining through cheesecloth. However, if I let it sit for 2 hours, I get nearly 2 cups! I wonder what would happen if you let yours sit for a little longer. I might have to try it!
12.7.2012 | Unregistered CommenterGeni
Where in USA can I find heavy cream that is NOT ultrapateurized? My local grocwers carry only brands tht also contain emulsisiers and were Ultrapasteurizeed. I know from experience that this product won't curdle properly for cheese.
12.15.2012 | Unregistered Commentertundrawoman
Tundrawoman-- Unless it is specifically labeled as ultra-pasteurized, then it should be safe to use. Almost all the brands of cream in my small town grocery store were just normally pasteurized, so I can't imagine that it would be too hard to find. However, if you simply can't find, I'd ask your local store to order some in especially for you. It's worth a shot!
12.15.2012 | Registered CommenterKristin Rosenau
Oh my amazing! But what do you mean you only use it in recipes?! I eat mine (store-bought) smeared on fresh sourdough with orange marmalade for breakfast. It's incredible. So excited to try this!
01.28.2013 | Unregistered Commenternicole
If you know of a dairy farmer, you can purchase his unpasturized whole milk and cream for your pets ;-). Some states may allow non pasturized products to be sold to the public, Wisconsin is still fighting the war so we can have the right to choose unpasturized or pasturized. Anyway, unpasturized diary products are tasty and easier to digest.
03.6.2013 | Unregistered CommenterLinda
Wow. I live in a tipi, in very primitive conditions, and I think about food a LOT. I made your mascarpone recipe on live fire. Wow. Just wow. It's tangy, creamy, smoky, rich.... outstanding.
03.14.2013 | Unregistered Commenterdandelion
I will definitively give this a try, always want to make tiramisu on my own :)
03.26.2013 | Unregistered Commenterhoa quả
I had never had mascarpone cheese by itself before I tried making it, it was always in tiramisu. And I love tiramisu. But trying it this way, freshly made with nothing special added made a believer of me. It's cool, fresh, and ridiculously creamy without being greasy. It melts in your mouth and is the perfect companion for sweet fresh fruit.

My next attempt will be using it to make a delicious sweet cream filling for chocolate eclairs. I'm sick of custards and whipped cream is too light and sweet. Can not wait to give this another go~
04.12.2013 | Unregistered CommenterAmanda
Simply wonderful, and easy, thanks
04.25.2013 | Unregistered Commenterfoodie
Thanks for this recipe I make cheese at home so I have the basic tool kit. I have to make a tirimisu this weekend for a dinner I am going to so I will give this a go!
06.6.2013 | Unregistered CommenterLinda
I tried this recipe and it turned out a sludgy sloppy mess and waiting for it to set for 12 hours was inconvenient. Having a tub from the supermarket in the refrigerator ready to go at a minutes notice is a good investment without the hassles.
06.16.2013 | Unregistered CommenterTara Misswho
Is there anything that can be done to the ultra pasturized heavy cream so that it will work?
07.11.2013 | Unregistered Commenterangela hopton

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