I don’t live in a two story house in the suburbs. I don’t own multi acres of land or have a white picket fence.
I don’t raise chickens or have a cow grazing in my yard. I don’t know of anyone who does, actually…
I live in the Bronx. Not by choice, really. I kinda sorta landed here. We were presented an opportunity to purchase a home in my very early 20’s. Our desire was to fulfill a portion of the so-called “American Dream” before we hit our 30’s. We were a low income family – And just so happened to be $60 below a certain threshold to qualify for a subsidy. We made it happen…
Yes, I live in a former “red zone”, my hood is under constant surveillance, and when asked “Hey, where do you live?” I tend to whisper it.
But I suppose it could be worse.
Other than the obvious, “da hood” has another sort of disadvantage. One that affects my cooking. For a chick, such as yours truly who gets down in the kitchen, I face challenges. Certain ingredients are usually hard to find. I make do, but find myself SOL at times. I can’t just walk into my local C-Town or Fine Fair and pick up cardamom, or mascarpone cheese. Yea, bummer…
And while we’re on the subject of mascarpone – Why is it so damn expensive? Why does a measly 8oz cost over twelve dollars?
What is mascarpone, really?
Can I make this at home?
First things first… Mascarpone is a rich creamy Italian dessert cheese. It’s soft and spreadable, much like cream cheese, but much sweeter with a smooth velvety texture. It so good, mildly sweet and you can eat it by the spoonful, if you’d like. Mascarpone cheese is most famously found in tiramisu, but is used in other desserts and savory recipes.
Oh, and yes – It can be made at home – With heavy cream and tartaric acid to help the cream thicken. Oh, you don’t have tartaric acid lying around? Welcome to the club. I don’t have that stuff lying around either… Never fear, the internet in here to help! Lemon juice performs the same function.
So if mascarpone cheese is just 2 ingredients, heavy cream and lemon juice, why does it cost so damn much? Much like not knowing how many licks does it take to get to the center of a Tootsie Roll pop… We may never flipping know.
I may have an idea why – But what do I know? I’m just a lowly wannabe food blogger; who in turn will give those who take advantage of us little people, “The Finger”.
I’m going to show you how to make your own mascarpone cheese.
You’re going to need:
- 2 cups, 500ml of heavy cream
- 1 lemon
- 1 instant ready thermometer
- 1 wooden spoon
- 2 medium bowls
- 1 small sauce pot
- 1 strainer or sieve
- 4-5 layers of cheesecloth or a sterile dish towel*
- 15-20 minutes of time
Place a strainer or sieve over a medium bowl and line with 4 layers of cheesecloth. Set aside.
Don’t have cheesecloth? Just use a sterile dish towel. You can sterilize a dish towel by placing the towel in a pot of water, bringing it to a boil and allowing the towel to dry.
Squeeze your lemon to extract about 2 tablespoons of juice and set aside.
Pour the 2 cups of heavy cream onto a heatproof bowl.
In a small sauce pot add about an inch of water and under low heat bring it to a simmer. Place your heatproof bowl over the pot of simmering water.
Insert your thermometer and heat the cream to about 185** degrees Fahrenheit, stirring often.
Once you’ve brought your heavy cream to about 185 degrees, pour in the lemon juice and cook the cream until it thickens.
The cream should coat the back of a spoon thickly. You will not see many whey streaks, and that’s OK. It supposed to look like a crème anglaise, or ice-cream custard.
Remove from heat and let it cool to room temperature.
Once cool, pour the cream over the cheesecloth lined sieve and place in the fridge for 24 hours. Do not squeeze it. The whey will separate from the curd overnight and the mixture will thicken.
I just hope you’re ready for the yummiest, creamiest, mascarpone cheese ever!
Look at it – Don’t you just want to reach out and grab it? I know you do… It’s OK…
Hmm… Now what to make with all this yummy mascarpone cheese? Oh, I have a few ideas brewin’…
Oh, and um… To the big man who wants to charge me crazy dollars for something I just made myself?
I’d give you the finger again… But I’m a lady.
Although, not too much of a lady to gloat… BOO-YA – In Your FACE!!!
Some notes: I wasn’t able to bring heavy cream to 185 degrees no matter how long I stood over my stove. As a matter of fact, I tried for one full episode of the Backyardigans, went 5 minutes into Blues Clues – And only got the cream to heat up to about 180 degrees. I even tried this method and no dice.. .The point: Get it as hot as you can. You’re gonna get cheese…Trust me… I did it twice.Add to Favourites