Pastry Affair | Homemade Mascarpone (2024)

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 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!

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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.

Pastry Affair | Homemade Mascarpone (2024)


What if I don't have enough mascarpone for tiramisu? ›

However you could try beating together 225g (8 ounces) full fat cream cheese with 60ml (4 tablespoons/1/4 cup) double or whipping cream and 30g (1 ounce/2 tablespoons) softened unsalted butter until just blended. This will give the equivalent of around 300g (10 ounces/1 1/4 cups) mascarpone.

What's the difference between cream cheese and mascarpone? ›

Cream cheese contains at least 33% milk fat, and mascarpone may contain 60-75% milk fat. Mascarpone has a buttery flavor that makes it particularly suitable for desserts. It adds richness and a creamy texture, while cream cheese brings a creamy consistency and slightly tangy taste to dishes.

What does mascarpone mean in baking? ›

Mascarpone is a soft cheese of Italian origin best known as the star ingredient in tiramisu. It's also great as frosting or filling in cakes, in trifles and parfaits, in cheesecakes, sometimes to make panna cotta.

What is mascarpone made of? ›

It is a fresh cheese that is most commonly made with pasteurized cow's milk. Unlike some cheeses, which have animal-derived rennet added, mascarpone is vegetarian. It's made by heating heavy cream and adding an acid like tartaric acid (aka cream of tartar), citric acid, or lemon juice to solidify and thicken the cream.

What can I use in place of mascarpone? ›

Crème Fraîche and sour cream bring unique tastes and handle heat like pros. Then there's ricotta, Mascarpone's flavor buddy, perfect for cheesecakes and spreads. Cream cheese, Greek yogurt, and cottage cheese are also the go-to for rich textures.

Can I use ricotta instead of mascarpone in tiramisu? ›

Mascarpone lends a subtle tang and creaminess to tiramisu, but I by far prefer the smooth and subtle flavor that ricotta gives it. This is a tiny change, but it makes all the difference in the world. It's what makes this ricotta tiramisu just a bit special.

Can you use Philadelphia cream cheese instead of mascarpone? ›

Is Philadelphia cream cheese mascarpone? No marscapone and cream cheese are completely different. There are cases where one may be substituted for the other but as a general rule you should use the ingredient the recipe calls for; otherwise you will end up with a similar but still completely different result.

Can I use sour cream instead of mascarpone? ›

Sour cream can be used as a mascarpone replacement in equal quantities (1:1 ratio) in savory recipes, but be sure to use full-fat sour cream as low fat versions contain way too much water.

Does mascarpone taste like heavy cream? ›

The taste of mascarpone is similar to that of cream cheese, ricotta cheese, creme fraiche, or clotted cream, but with a little more sweetness and acidity. This makes it a versatile cheese for both sweet and savory dishes.

What is mascarpone cheese called in English? ›

Mascarpone (pronounced mahs-car-POH-nay), an Italian double or triple cream cheese, may be best known as an essential ingredient in tiramisu, an Italian coffee and chocolate dessert.

Why is mascarpone used in desserts? ›

If you think Mascarpone is just like cream cheese, you'll be surprised and probably delighted to learn Mascarpone is richer and sweeter. Mascarpone has a more velvety texture, lending it to easier spreading and opening up possibilities as both a cream cheese substitute and the star of its unique set of dishes.

Is mascarpone better for cheesecake? ›

Probably the closest substitute is mascarpone though this has a fat content of 40% and doesn't have the same acidic tang as cream cheese, so will give a very rich cheesecake. Otherwise a curd cheese would be a possible alternative.

Does mascarpone go bad? ›

Once opened, mascarpone must be consumed within approximately 5-7 days when refrigerated, as it's prone to spoilage due to its high moisture and fat content. Left at room temperature, the cheese should be used within a few hours to prevent bacterial growth and maintain its quality.

Is mascarpone good or bad for you? ›

Although mascarpone is a high-fat cheese, it does have some benefits including being satiating and a good source of calcium.

Can you use single cream instead of mascarpone? ›

Mascarpone cheese is made from cream, so it makes sense that you can use heavy cream instead of mascarpone! It has a rich, smooth flavor however, it has a runnier texture so a few tweaks need to be made. For more info, check out my heavy cream substitute article.

What can go wrong when making tiramisu? ›

12 Mistakes You're Making With Tiramisu
  • Using the wrong kind of biscuits. ...
  • Over-whipping the mascarpone. ...
  • Forgetting to bring your eggs up to temperature. ...
  • Waiting too long to mix the sugar and the eggs. ...
  • Not correctly whipping your heavy cream. ...
  • Using instant coffee instead of something stronger.
Nov 15, 2022

Can you free mascarpone? ›

Mascarpone can be frozen for up to four months, depending on the quality of the cheese. Freezing it properly ensure it remains fresh and delicious.

What can you substitute for cream in tiramisu? ›

Using egg whites instead of cream: Some authentic recipes for tiramisu use whipped egg whites instead of whipped cream. Tiramisu made with egg whites is lighter and more airy. To make our recipe with egg whites, whip 3 egg whites until they hold stiff peaks.

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