When I think of creamy, spreadable cheeses, the first one that pops to mind is the Italian classic, Mascarpone. It has a luscious texture that our conventional cream cheese just can’t replicated. (I first heard of Mascarpone when I watched the movie Kate and Leopold. Hugh Jackman’s character, Leopold, prepared breakfast for Kate (Meg Ryan) by spreading Mascarpone on toast and then topping with blueberries. It has since become one of my favorite breakfasts.) If you are a fan of Mascarpone from the store, you will absolutely love homemade Mascarpone cheese.
Don’t worry, this is a very easy recipe to prepare. You will amaze your friends and yourself with this creation.
My favorite recipe is from Home Cheese Making Recipes for 75 Homemade Cheeses by Ricki Carroll.
Mascarpone with Culture
- 1 quart light cream (or half and half), avoid homogenized
- 1 packet direct set crème fraîche starter
- Gently heat the cream to 86F in a pot placed in a water bath (can fill the sink with water that is 10 degrees warmer than the desired temperature of the cream or can place the pot of cream in a larger container partially filled with water on the stove top).
- Add the starter and mix thoroughly (I generally stir for one full minute)
- Cover the pot with cream and culture and let set undisturbed for 12 hours at room temperature (remove from heat source) or until coagulated.
- If you want a thicker curd (and I do), ladle the cream curd into a colander lined with butter muslin and drain in the refrigerator for 1 – 4 hours. Check periodically for the desired consistency.
- Cover and store in the refrigerator for up to 4 weeks (though in our household, it never lasts that long).
- Recipe makes approximately 1 pound of Mascarpone.
If you are not certain where to buy crème fraîche starter, New England Cheesemaking carries it. Though some specialty stores are now offering cheesemaking cultures/starters. For this recipe, I used one packet of starter from New England Cheesemaking.
So friends, that is it. Simple. Easy to prepare. Delicious. Marvelous Mascarpone is something you can make at home with just two ingredients. Who knows, maybe this spreadable cheese will be a new breakfast favorite?