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Friday, October 31, 2014

Everything is Better With a Little Cream and Cheese

My husband and I have a problem: We like to eat... and we like to eat expensive things like fruits and cheeses and use them in the foods we cook. But being on a law school budget, we have to get a little creative. About 6 months ago, in an attempt to be frugal, Aaron and I decided to start making our own cheeses. We haven't become super adventurous, wandering into the realm of hard cheeses like Cheddar or Parmesan (although we have aspirations to try). But we have attempted some cheeses that are still considered pretty pricey from our perspective: Ricotta was the first, Mascarpone the second, and Mozzarella the last (We're still trying to perfect the mozzarella... I'm not quite satisfied yet). 

All three of these types of cheeses are pretty easy to make, but Mascarpone is by far the most simple. You only need two ingredients: Heavy cream and lemon juice. That's it! Of course you're gonna need some supplies like cheese cloth and a candy thermometer, too. But those are re-usable, and by the end of the process you're going to have the Italian version of cream cheese: Smooth, creamy, velvety and shiny. You can mix it into soups, dip, or mix in some flavor and spread it on your bagels. Go crazy! The possibilities are endless. Share what you've done with Mascarpone in the comments.

Homemade Mascarpone Cheese

1 pint Heavy Cream

1 Tbsp. Fresh Lemon juice (or from a bottle is fine, too)

Bring Cream to a simmer over medium heat until it reaches 190 degrees F.

Simmer five minutes more, keeping the cream at 190 degrees and stirring constantly. You may need to adjust the burner/take off heat every now and then, to keep it from going over 190 degrees.

After five minutes of this "juggling game", take off heat and let cool for abuot 3 - 5 minutes. 

Fold a cheesecloth in half and line your colander. Put this lined colander over a medium mixing bowl.

Pour the cream into the colander and let sit overnight in the fridge. By the next day, you'll creamy, silky Mascarpone. Spoon it out and into an airtight container to store for up to a week.

*You can wash out your cheesecloth in a clean a sink filled with lukewarm water and a couple tablespoons of white vinegar. Rinse clean and dry thoroughly. 

...Oh, by the way, Happy Halloween!!!

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