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What is Mascarpone Cheese?

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Mascarpone and honey dip

Photo by Jennifer Meier
What is Mascarpone Cheese?

Lemon Mascarpone Sauce

Photo by Jennifer Meier

Question: What is Mascarpone Cheese?

Answer: When it comes down to it, mascarpone (pronounced mahs-car-POH-nay) is really just thickened cream that's one step away from being butter. It's made from only two ingredients, whole cream and citric or tartaric acid (to thicken the cream). That's it. The process is so simple you can even make your own mascarpone cheese at home.

Mascarpone should have a very smooth texture with no lumps or graininess. The flavor should be milky and slightly sweet, sometimes with a tangy finish. It tends to go bad quickly, so use an open container of mascarpone within a few days.

The closest cousins to mascarpone are English clotted cream and French creme fraiche. However, high-quality creamy ricotta or cream cheese can also be a substitute for mascarpone.

 

Cooking with Mascarpone

 

Mascarpone is best known as an ingredient in the Italian dessert tiramisu . Besides tiramisu, what can mascarpone be used for? In both sweet and savory dishes, mascarpone can add a creamy, rich element.

Savory Mascarpone Recipes

 

 

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