Home made Mascarpone cheese
I would like to take a moment to thank Italy for inventing Macarpone cheese.
This creamy and supremely rich cheese is incredibly versatile, you can use it in sweet dishes, savoury dishes and desserts, most famously in Tiramisu. Surely such a popular cheese has an interesting story, so I decided to google the history of Mascarpone but I came up empty, nothing, nudda, just boring historical facts, so I have decided that this glorious cheese needs to have an interesting story about how it came to be and who better to write it but moi maybe Stephen King, or JKRowling or Dan Brown or … well, you get the idea.
The king of Italy Victor Emanuel decided to have a birthday party for his beloved queen. However, the head pastry chef, had come down with typhoid fever and was never to return to the palace.
The king was furious with 24 hours left to celebrate his dearest’s birthday. His beloved had a notorious sweet tooth and adored desert, she was loco for cocoa and lulu for lemon tart, but pastry was her passion. The loss of the pastry chef was a disaster. He’d ordered a splendid banquet, but no one wanted the job of being the royal pastry chef who had to create the centrepiece of this fab feast. The previous chef had been the best in the land and knew the king would find fault with anything inferior to what they were used to.
One of his advisors told him that there were rumours that one of the prisoners in the dungeon was a brilliant pastry chef. He had long been suspected of running a gang and standover tactics but had eventually been caught on tax evasion, His name was Mars Capone. Now Mars had a way of getting his own way and he’d made some pastries for the warden which were so great he was getting special treatment.
The king asked to meet Mars and struck a deal with him that if he would create delectable deserts that could please the palate of his finicky queen he might be pardoned for his tax debt. The prisoner accepted and set to work working on a new recipe for a rich, and creamy cheese dessert, made from a special cheese which would be a masterpiece.
He whipped the dense cheese which would be known as mascarpone to give it a soft pillowy consistency to top the red wine-poached cherries he made. He made a bittersweet chocolate tart with rich chocolate cream made from the same cheese. He made limoncello – mascarpone semifreddo, cheese cake, but the piece de resistance was the desert he dedicated to the queen herself.
Now Mars was a cunning fellow adept at flattery, and when he presented his creation to the queen, he told her the cake had been made as a tribute to her, which was why it was both elegant and rich. With its unique coffee and cocoa flavour, layers of creamy cheese and delicate savriodi biscuits, soaked in strong espresso and sugar, he hoped it would be fit for the queen. Needless to say, all the cheesy treats were a huge sensation, with the Tiramisu being the favourite of the show.
This cheese was named Mars Capone after the chef, who moved back to Mascarpone in the northern part of Italy where his ancestors came from. Mascarpone is famously sold there until today, and understandably, eventually, became the name it is known by today.
Mascarpone cheese the video!
Unfortunately this video is not the greatest but, it does the trick and you will get the idea and that's what counts, right ?
Before you start please note:
You will need a cream with no less than 32% fat I used pure cream.
Don’t use muslin, I did the cream mixture went straight through it, yes, I folded it several times.
I used cheese cloth, I folded it 4 times and was fine.
Pour the freshly squeezed lemon juice through a strainer, you don’t want bits of lemon or pips in the cheese.
If you want to make a larger quantity you can. I have made mascarpone cheese with 600mls, 800mls and 900mls of cream and used 2 table spoons of lemon juice, in each batch. They all turned out perfect.
2 tablespoons of freshly squeezed lemon juice strained through a sieve
600mls (or more) pure cream
Place a heavy bottomed pot over medium heat.
Pour cream and stir to avoid scorching.
Bring the cream to a gentle simmer (you’ll know it’s simmering when tiny bubbles begin to bubble around the edge of the pot) reduce the heat to medium-low and allow to simmer for about three minutes while stirring on and off. Stir in the lemon juice, continue to stir but don’t let the cream reach boiling point. If you think the cream is beginning to boil, reduce the heat further and continue to stir for about 5 minutes. The mixture is ready when it’s thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Remove the pot from the stove and let the mixture cool to room temperature.
Line a sieve with a cheese cloth that has been folded FOUR times. Place the sieve lined with cheese cloth over a bowl or a pot, pour the mixture into the cheese cloth and cover with a lid, chill in the fridge for 24 hours.
Store cheese in a sealed container it will keep in the fridge up to 4 days.
Buon appetito italian