Mascarpone should have a very smooth texture with no lumps or graininess. The flavor should be milky and lightly sweet. It tends to go bad quickly, so use an open container of mascarpone within a few days.
The closest cousins to mascarpone are probably English clotted cream and French creme fraiche. However, high-quality creamy ricotta or cream cheese can also be a substitute for mascarpone.
Besides tiramisu, what can mascarpone be used for? In both sweet and savory dishes, mascarpone can add a creamy, rich element.
Cooking with Mascarpone
- Make a Strawberry Mascarpone Tart
- Make a mascarpone pie - Chocolate Mascarpone Pie
- Or, make a cake - Lemon Mascarpone Layer Cake or Ginger Mascarpone Icebox Cake
- Use it to make truffles - Mascarpone White Chocolate Truffles
- Make a pasta sauce - Mascarpone and Gorgonzola Two Cheese Pasta Sauce
- Baked Pasta - Baked Rigatoni with Mascarpone
- Macaroni and Cheese - Very Creamy Mac 'n' Cheese
- Or quinoa - Creamy Quinoa with Mascarpone Cheese, Peas and Prosciutto
- Use mascarpone cheese to thicken soup, such as Spinach Soup with Mascarpone Cheese
- Make a traditional Italian recipe - Pheasant with Cognac and Mascarpone - Fagiano al Cognac e Mascarpone
- Sprinkle cocoa powder or chocolate shavings over mascarpone with a little sugar and eat it with a spoon
- Drizzle honey over mascarpone and use it as a dip for fruit
More Soft and Creamy Italian Cheeses